Hotter Than Hades

July 18, 2014 by

Yesterday, I found myself face to face with an angel.

I’m traveling around the western US while Mars holds down the fort at home, and I’m on the tail end of the trip. Before I left, I took my car in and had everything checked. Among other things, I spent $1700 replacing the a.c. compressor and recharging the system. Hey, I’m not driving to Arizona without a great air conditioner!


The a.c. died the day before I was to leave cool, rainy western Washington for dry, hot eastern Washington. It appears to be the compressor — the most expensive part to replace.

Problem is, that compressor is under warranty — in Edmonton. If I take it to my shop, the repair will be free. If I fix it myself before we go, I have to pay for it.

No worries, I told myself. We’ll take it slow and drink lots of liquids. People traveled in the days before air conditioning, I told myself.

Besides, I added to myself, it’s Washington. How hot can it be?! It’s not like I’m in Arizona or anything.

Remind me not to listen when I talk to myself in the future.

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The Scent of a Place

April 4, 2014 by

The kids and I are spending Spring Break in Washington with my family, and having a blast! Karaoke, Great Wolf Lodge, makeovers, shopping. We always enjoy the cousins, but this has been a particularly fun trip.

Wednesday evening, I left the family at Great Wolf went drove to Chehalis to attend the soup supper and Lenten service at our former church, St. John’s.

It’s a beautiful building, with a steeply pitched, vaulted ceiling finished in wood paneling.


And a fabulous antique pipe organ that I was privileged to play regularly.

One time the power went out during a service, but the service continued in candlelight with Boy Scouts pumping the organ.

I never played the organ without being conscious of all the fingers that have pressed those keys over the years, and all the feet on the pedals.

When I stepped into the sanctuary Wednesday evening, the scent of the space hit me like a body blow, and I started to cry.

It smelled of home.

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A Polite Pat down

March 25, 2014 by

My husband, Mars, is flying to Calgary this morning.

He texted me when he’d gotten through security to say that he had had a full pat down.

I made some appropriately disgruntled comment (I think I said, “Oh, lovely” or something like that), and he texted back that it wasn’t too bad.

“His whole body language spoke apology,” Mars said. “It was a very Canadian pat down.”

Signs of Spring

March 24, 2014 by

My sweet husband washed my van for me Saturday.

You have to appreciate — it’s rare to have a clean car this time of year. As the snow melts, the sandy, muddy gunk gets sprayed all over our vehicles. We go through washer fluid like beer at a hockey game.

So nobody bothers to wash their car. What’s the point really? You can’t get home from the car wash before it’s covered with road grime again.

But Mars did. He washed my car. He did a great job too: vacuumed the interior, wiped the dash, and even washed the inside of the windshield.

We got up Sunday morning to find it crowned by a big, white, splotchy splash of bird crap.

I can just imagine what was going through that stinking bird’s mind: “A clean car! Oh, thank GOD. I’ve been holding it forever!!”


Near Misses

March 20, 2014 by

My hands are shaking as I type, and I’m not sure my knees would support me if I tried to stand right now. I just got home from taking the kids to school — and came as close as I’ve ever come to a collision without actually making contact.

We have a centimeter or two of new snow (first time in a couple of weeks), and it’s slick. People slowed down, but that made for a lot of traffic congestion, and drivers were tense.

I was driving along a four-lane road in the outside lane when a big black SUV pulled out of a side road right in front of me.

I mean right in front of me. Maybe fifteen feet? Maybe.

I did what I could to minimize the damage, but I knew there was no avoiding a collision.

I swerved into the next lane (I virtually always know where the traffic around me is — a vestige of totaling three vehicles the very first time I ever drove alone — so I knew the lane was clear).

And I slammed on the brakes, but that just made me fishtail.

Behind me was another big SUV, and he moved over with me. But now we were right next to two lanes of heavy oncoming traffic — with nothing but a single center line to guard us from that brutal crossing over.

I watched that big black front end get closer and closer and prayed we would not be pushed into a head-on collision — as I braced for impact.

It didn’t happen. Somehow, he was able to stop halfway into the road, and I slid past him. My tires regained traction. I regained control of my vehicle and drove home. And soon I’ll regain control of my racing heart.

I have no idea how he got stopped. I was in control of the fish-tailing enough to keep it within the inside lane, but I could not have stopped to … ahem … save my life. Or avoid the inevitable collision.

And that’s the salient point here: I have no idea how he got stopped.

Except I do. I have one idea, but it sounds a little crazy, and I’m hesitant to say it out loud.

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Christmas in March?!

March 13, 2014 by

Yesterday felt like Christmas morning.

But not just Christmas — that Christmas. The one where you got everything on your list, and both sets of grandparents showed up as a surprise, and Mom put dried cherries and pecans in the stuffing, and she made the frozen pumpkin pie that tastes like ice cream, and there was mince meat leftover for breakfast. That Christmas!

Actually, I never got that Christmas. But now I know what it would have felt like.

Oh, sorry. What did I do?

I took Girly Girl to her new doctor.

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My Psychic Self

March 12, 2014 by

Last night, I attended a class called Your Psychic Self, put on by Edmonton School’s Metro Continuing Ed and taught by Lynn LeBlanc. It was fascinating!

I have been told that I am an Empath. I feel what other people feel, as if their experiences were happening to me. If you’re not comfortable with the language of psychic phenomena, think of it as a Highly Sensitive Person with the volume turned up even higher. A lot higher.

I think that’s part of the reason I’ve had so much trouble living in Canada. Americans more readily express what they’re feeling, so it doesn’t dam up inside them. But Canadians are polite — and I suspect a lot of Canadians carry around a burden of unexpressed hurt feelings and suppressed anger.

The problem is, I pick it up, and I can’t always tell the difference between my emotions and someone else’s that I’m feeling.

With drivers, for instance. I pick up their rage — and then I’m feeling it too. And I think it’s mine because they treated me so badly (and in the most egregious cases, some of it is mine), but it’s not necessarily.

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A Love Letter to My Ex

February 14, 2014 by

Dear Sir,

Today is Valentine’s Day, and I am filled with warmth, love, and gratitude for the man you are.

simple truth text in wood typeI am so grateful you are a man of integrity, a noble man, a Christ-like man.

You have always tried to do the right thing even when it cost you dearly. You even treated me with respect and love after the divorce.

You made enormous sacrifices to give the people you love what was best for them.  Not just our son, but even me, even after you no longer owed me anything. Those actions speak so highly of you.

Thank you for not using our child as a weapon. You never tried to manipulate me through our son, nor send barbed messages through him, and you’ve certainly never tried to get revenge via him.

You always encouraged him to love his mother and treat her with respect, as indeed, I have tried to do regarding his father. I made it a point never to criticize you (a few years ago our son asked why we got divorced; he honestly did not know), and as near as I can tell you have done the same.

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“Make It Worse!”

February 11, 2014 by

“You don’t have a life, Katrina,” one of my friends told me a couple of weeks ago. “It’s like that movie. You live in a novel!”

 68d39f640f6d821cbb0496a5b7904c52“Yeah,” I said. “And somebody told the author, ‘Make it worse!’ ‘Raise the Stakes!’ Great advice for a novel, but a lousy way to live.”

Good lives make boring stories. Horrible, scary lives make great stories. But they are made great by piling stress on top of fear on top of challenge, until the poor main character is staggering under the weight.

Then, to make the perfect story, the author adds one last, insignificant stressor. Something that wouldn’t even slow the protagonist down normally but which, given the enormous strain they are under, is the final straw that sends them spiraling into the abyss.

Yesterday was one of those days.

It was a sub-subplot day, one of the three or four scenes in the novel that deal with minor issues while the primary conflict and biggest sub-plot are fairly quiet. But that darned author slung things at me — one after another — until I was locked in the bedroom and the bathroom (yep, behind two locked doors), curled on the floor gasping.

Well … wasn’t doing that of course*. But if I really were a character in a novel, I would have been!

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Updated Info About Domestic Abuse

February 9, 2014 by

Just wanted to let you know I’ve updated my website, thanks to the reader who pointed out this week that I had some missing pages.

I added a whole new section about Domestic Abuse, including

  • trina-graphic copy“But … Is It Abuse?”, an overview about domestic assault, the Cycle of Abuse, and why women stay;
  • Myths About Abuse;
  • Links to my blog entries about domestic assault;
  • Links to blog entries that tell my personal story of abuse;
  • Profile of An Abuser, an article that describes the kind of man who batters (hint: he’s outgoing, charming, and likable);
  • Abusive Behavior Checklist: link to the best checklist I’ve seen for determining whether or not a person is in an abusive relationship (in my novel, East of Jesus, my character goes through a similar checklist at one point and realizes she was an abuse victim even though her husband never struck her);
  • Tips for Planning an Escape: link to a great site for women planning to escape;
  • Statistics About Abuse: link to some shocking stats

Love to see you there!


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