Memorable Night at the Opera

April 21, 2015 by

I got one of THE best compliments of my life tonight.

We attended the opera — Lucia di Lammermoor — and Mars dropped me off at the front door before he parked.

A taxi was letting off three passengers in front of me — two absolutely stunning young women in their late 20s and an equally handsome young man.

The first woman out was startlingly beautiful. Blond hair with blue-green highlights, very tall and slender, and a rather unusual but attractive piercing.

She looked at me and called out, “I love your hair!”

“Thank you,” I said, but she wasn’t finished.

Her eyes traveled down to my outfit. “Oh! And I love your … ” Her eyes traveled further down, all the way to my shoes. “Your … your everything!!”

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Protected: Giving In to Modern Medicine

April 16, 2015 by

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Why I Love My Husband

March 27, 2015 by

Girly Girly loves Maroon 5. I mean, she loves them!

Katy PerrySo when we heard several months ago that they were coming to Edmonton, we made sure we got tickets the day they went on sale.

She’s been sooo looking forward to the concert. She’s had the date marked in her calendar for months, and she’s announced it to everyone. She even announced in church Sunday that she was going to the Maroon 5 concert.

As she left for school today, she said she was going to tell everyone that she was going to see Maroon 5 tonight.

Today, Mars logged onto his Ticketmaster account to print out the e-tickets, and he was greeted with the message, “How did you like the Maroon 5 concert?”

The concert was last night.

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Ice Closing Over My Head

March 6, 2015 by

Something interesting happened yesterday while I was meditating.

As you may know, our move to Canada has been hard on me. Things are better now, but a part of me still longs for the sense of home I had in Washington.

Last summer, I spent almost two months in the U.S., visiting friends and family and attending a writers’ retreat. When it was time to return, I headed north with a very heavy heart.

There’s an exquisite image in the opening chapter of the novel Touch by Alexi Zentner(This is a spoiler, but it happens in the first chapter, so it doesn’t spoil much. And this entire entry won’t make sense without the spoiler.)

The hands were not touching. Even through the plate of frozen water covering them, we saw clearly that little more than the width of an ax blade separated my father’s two hands from my sister’s one. His mangled fingers on one hand, the smooth alabaster fingers on the other hand, all stretched toward Marie’s small hand. The ice, like glass above their hands, thickened as we tried to look further out, to see the rest of their bodies and their faces.  The lines blurred, only shadows, dark shapes.

The image has haunted me. It became a symbol of how I felt about Canada. If I remained in Canada another winter, I thought, I would end up as they did — frozen forever in the failed task of touching, of making contact with another human being.

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Danger, Will Robinson!

February 20, 2015 by

I had a weird experience last night at a young writers club I lead.

I ran into someone, someone from that horrible first year in Canada, someone I would have happily gone my whole life without ever seeing again.

The evening didn’t start well. It’s book sale week at my favorite library.

hate book sale week because it displaces the group from our customary spot, and nobody seems to consider in advance where to put us instead. So I show up to cause panic in the girls at the counter because our space and our tables are covered with books for sale, and both the program and meeting rooms have been rented out.

Mind you — I love that book sale week helps my favorite library raise extra funds. I just hate showing up to learn that I have fifteen rowdy girls in grades four and five — and no place to take them.

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From Out of Nowhere

February 17, 2015 by

The other day I was driving on the Whitemud — a limited access highway. Where we were, there are three regular lanes in both directions, plus a fourth entrance ramp lane merging into the far lane.

It’s what we call a freeway in the States.

The roads were a bit slick that day (as they often are), so the traffic was traveling ten or twenty kph below the speed limit.

In the far right lane, a car traveled behind a school bus. I believe they were both merging onto the highway from the entrance ramp. The lane next to them was clear.

In the center lane, pacing me, was another car. I was in the far left lane, up against the concrete abutment between us and oncoming traffic. There is a shoulder there, of sorts, but it’s piled with a snow windrow this time of year.

Without warning, the car behind the bus lost control.

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Drama IRL, Part 12: A Changed Perspective

February 14, 2015 by

I awoke from my dream with Jackie Allen’s cover of the “Tea in the Sahara” playing in my head, a soundtrack to the events played out.

“My sisters and I / Have this wish before we die / And it may sound strange / As if our minds are deranged / Please don’t ask us why / Beneath the sheltering sky / We have this strange obsession / You have the means in your possession.”

Now, I sure you think I’m nuts to interrupt my story of a hospital stay to tell you about a dream, but this particular dream coming at that exact point in my life felt profoundly significant.

I’ve been teaching The Writer’s Journey to the Teen Writers group I lead at the library, and I woke with the realization that my dream had followed The Writer’s Journey faithfully.

It began in the Ordinary World, albeit a new Ordinary World. The Call to Adventure came when I was trapped in the tower, but my sisters and I Refused the Call by trying to escape and avoid the service project. I awoke before the Hero Accepted the Call, but I knew she would.

I knew I would.

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Drama IRL, Part 11: The Tower

February 13, 2015 by

When I got home from the hospital, I slept for twelve hours straight. I don’t think I woke up once, not even when Mars’ alarm went off and he got up to take Girly Girl to school.

Right before I woke, I had an incredibly vivid dream. I was in my late 20s and my family (parents and two sisters, also in their late 20s) had just moved, that day, into a glorious new home. A mansion really, nearly on the scale of Downton Abbey, except it was made of natural wood, varnished but unpainted and unstained.

It was an iconic building. If one mentioned the name of the town, the listener would always reply, “Isn’t that where that gorgeous old building is?”

Typically, once I got my bedroom set up, I wanted to explore.

The front entry was huge, the size of a small ballroom.Twin staircases led up to the main floor from the back of either side, but towers rose in front of them. The tower on the right was standard: a column of rooms accessed by a staircase along the walls.

But the left side was curious: instead of a staircase, there was a steep ramp with a polished marble floor. Though a bannister hugged the inner wall, it was very difficult to climb without sliding back to the entry.

However, I am nothing if not stubborn. I climbed up to the first landing, though much of the time, I was literally hanging from the bannister, pulling myself up hand over hand.

At the landing was a sign. It said “Welcome to …

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Drama IRL Part 10: Going Home

February 11, 2015 by

An hour passed with no sign of my parole check-out paperwork.

“When it’s time to go, I’ll bring the car to the nearest entrance,” Mars said. “The doors I came in are quite a long ways away though. I’ll have to ask where the nearest entrance is.”

“Oh, they won’t let me walk,” I said. “At the very least, they’ll insist on sending me out in a wheelchair.”

When the LPN came around about 9:30 to check my vitals, I could hardly stand the excitement. But she did the routine — blood pressure, oxygen saturation, temperature — and turned to go.

“When does Katrina get to go home?” Mars asked, somewhat frantically.

“I thought she was staying the night.” The nurse looked surprised. “But I’ll check her chart and talk to the charge nurse.”

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Drama IRL, Part 9: Food and Drink — Finally!

February 10, 2015 by

“You should stay another night to avoid driving in the snow,” the charge nurse told me. “But it’s up to you.”

Up to me? In the States, it’s never the patient’s choice. No insurance policy would pay for an optional night.

Not to mention — who wants to spend an extra night in the hospital?

She asked a couple more questions, checked my incision (taking care not to expose me), and made a note in my chart. Then she said, “Would you like your dinner?”

“YES!” I practically shouted. But then, despite myself, I said, “I didn’t think I was allowed to eat.”

She looked surprised. “Hmmm. I’ll ask your nurse.”

She caught my nurse at the door. and I overheard the conversation with failing hope. “She cannot eat until eight,” my nurse said emphatically. “I’ll keep the tray for her, and warm it up then.”

After an hour, the kitchen staff came for the rolling metal cart. “I’ll keep that tray,” my nurse said. “She can’t eat until eight.”

“You can’t just hold a tray for hours,” the kitchen staff member said. “It’ll go bad.” My nurse murmured a response I couldn’t hear, and he added, “I’ll leave it until seven, but after that, we have to throw it away. It isn’t safe to eat.”

Throw it away! The delicious smell had dissipated, and I doubted it would taste as good warmed over anyway — but not to get it at all? Not to even learn what the smell was? That seemed grossly unfair!

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