Saturday, September 28, 2013


A city with a vibrant arts community is alive, colourful, and necessary. A city that hones and encourages music, art, dance and creativity in all its forms is balanced, healthy and growing.

This weekend my little town celebrated the arts with "Culture Days" with most of the down town area participating in one form or another.

The local market was a hub of activity, more so than usual! I went down myself to scoop up some fresh fruits and vegetables that shows the abundance of Canada.

All ages were out and about. Look at that little sweety in the hat buying apples! Speaking of apples, I bought a few of these bad boys myself.


The downtown was cordoned off like a street festival with families taking in the festivities. We even spotted a water buffalo - don't see one of those in downtown Belleville very often. 

Sheldon and I stopped in a little french restaurant and picked up a cappuccino and almond croissant - a recommendation of the fella behind the counter. They bake croissants fresh only on Saturday mornings so you have to be up-n-attem if you want some. 

Later in the day I headed down to Dinkels, one of the local restaurants to meet with my Father and a few other local authors to talk about our babies, aka books, and meet with the public. To say it was quiet would be underestimating.....don't think anyone knew we were in there. So, I sat with my 78 year old father and 3 other guys, also well into their 60 or 70s and chewed the fat. I had a lovely glass of red wine. Finally another starving author showed up, a sweet young thing in his mid 30s. His book, "Act Like You've Been There" is chock full of helpful tidbits and advice. He took mine, I took his (we are talking books here people), and I packed up my stuff to walk home in the autumn sunshine.

Other than the book signing bust, I think Belleville's Culture Days were a success! The weather certainly smiled upon us, the citizens of my fair town, young and old, seemed to be enjoying themselves. Hopefully a few people considered the creative souls scattered throughout the area proudly showing their wares and talents and supported them in one form or another, so we can continue to grow and be community of culture.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Beauty in the Lonely

The other day Sheldon and I were driving through town on our way to Band, or something. It was fairly dark out, just past the twilight hour.

As we drove along I looked into the windows of a donut shop. The shop was open but not a customer to be had. There was an employee just standing there, staring out the windows, watching the traffic go by. It was a quiet moment. He seemed lonely. But there was a beauty in it. A poignancy about it. I wondered if he had a radio going somewhere, keeping him company. Perhaps there was another employee hanging about but out of sight, cleaning up out back, prepping for the next day, counting cash from the register.

In many a movie we find these moments captured. The beautiful girl, making dinner by herself, the handsome young man staring at the TV, mindlessly flicking through channels. Of course, these two meet up eventually and the ying and yang of being along and being together is completed. 

There is a beauty to be found in the lonely. You have to feel it, embrace it, let it fill you up. It is in these quiet, alone moments that things can be heard. You may come to acknowledge a truth about a situation or yourself that you may have been avoiding. You may come to acknowledge a mistake, or a great victory that you misguidedly ignored. You may hear the still small voice of God, reminding you that you truly are never alone. I know these moments are much easier to cope with for the introvert than the extrovert. But they come upon us all, throughout our lives. 

I think there is a balance required. We need the lonely times and the community times. Too much of one or the other overloads us. I think it's important that your children, should you have any, are taught this as well. My kids always had a quiet time - each to their own room, whether a nap was required or not, to just spend time with themselves and as an added bonus  - Mom got a little break as well! It was mandatory up to the age of 6 or 7 and after that, they just did it themselves. 

If you are always in the company of others, I hope you can find some time to yourself and if you are all alone I hope you can find the beauty in it. I also hope you balance it out with seeking out friends and community where you can connect and love.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Last February I had a little trouble with Morrie's bow. You see when I'm finished playing I always loosen the strings and when it is time to play with Morrie, I tighten the strings. But something went amiss and I could not tighten the strings. I would turn and turn the little knob to no avail. My cello teacher, Linda, recommended a friend of hers named John. So my bow stayed behind to see John the cello doctor and I took home a spare.

John is a fascinating man. He is well into his 80s with big round blue eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses, a smattering of white hair hanging in at the top, and a great accent - he sounds like the Count from Sesame Street (ah,ah,ah....). I was prepared for a hefty bill or perhaps the news that a new bow would be required. So when John called me I gritted my teeth for the bad news.

He told me my bow was ready to be picked up and gave me directions to his house. When I got there, his wife, a lovely little doll, was sitting in the corner with her walker nearby, just finishing her dinner. 

I wish I could make you hear his accent, but I can't so just try and imagine this being said by the Sesame Street Count.
Me: So, John, how much is it.
J: oh.....$20 should be fine.
Me, aghast, "Really??? Wow, that is great! thanks very much!!"
J;This is not a good bow.....I did what I could with it, but you might want to start saving your pennies for a new one....
Me: Ok, I will
J: You see, a good bow, is like breath to the soprano.
Me, laughing....
J: No, no, I mean it!!!
Me: Sorry, I believe you, it is just that you said it so beautifully.

That was my introduction to John. I fell in love with him almost immediately. Recently, Morrie had more trouble, this time a little more serious. The tuning pegs at the top had frozen and were immovable. So Morrie himself went in for surgery with John. I was truly prepared for a nasty bill this time but again, John surprised me.

J: I had to use gentle persuasion, tap,tap,tap here, a little tug there. Brute force will not work with a cello. I worked on it last night and on and off all day today.
Me: Thanks again John! So, how much do I owe you?
J: $30 
Me: Here, take $40! I see you added a new nub on the bottom of the pin(mine had broken off).
J: Yes, I used a cork from a bottle of County wine.
Me: Red or White?
J: I don't know, I just drank it!
We continued to chat a little about dogs and the County when I noticed a pen and ink drawing of the London Bridge on his wall. 
So I said: My daughter is now living in England, teaching.
John looks at me intently and deeply into my eyes and says: "And you are sitting at home, pining away."
Yup, he nailed it. Not only is John a genius with cellos, he is highly intuitive. 
Like I said, I fell in love with him almost immediately.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


It's Sunday morning, which means spending the morning at church.   When I have to play I go in early to practice with the team whatever music we have on board. But today my team is not on the docket. So I have some extra time to do what Sundays were meant to be, a day of rest. 
Since I was about 19, with very few exceptions, church has been a part of my life. Why, you may ask, do I spend the one day where I actually have the time to do whatever I want and I end up spending   a good chunk of it at church? 
Because I have a grateful heart.
I'm forever aware of how God personally, gently and patiently picked me up, dusted me off and has never, never, NEVER let me go. He is always there, always encouraging me, always forgiving and always giving me new gifts of Grace and Mercy every morning.
Because I'm human and sometimes I'm amazing and really a great person and sometimes I'm not. I really blow it. 
But His deep, intense, never-let-go-Love is there regardless of whether I'm amazing or a mess. 
And I'm very grateful for that. Very. 
He is my best friend, the one who understands me, the one who guides and gives me advice, the one who created me and knows my beginning and my end. 
So, although I am in constant communication with Him throughout the day and night, on Sundays I want to personally go to His house and let Him know how very grateful I am for His incredible patience, love and grace for me. Of course, I don't have to go to church to do that, but it seems more respectful and focused. Plus I get to hang out with others of like mind. 
That's why I spend Sunday mornings in church. 
I have a grateful heart and I want to let Him know how much I appreciate Him. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013


(Turn and face the stranger)
Don't want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the stranger)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time"       
          David Bowie

In many place of the world, September signals a time of change. From the time we are 4 years old it means a change of pace from the lazy, sometime boring days of summer to the busy, hectic pace of a new school year. We are conditioned to it after years of doing this transition. So even though I don't have little kids bustling about, making sure back packs are ready, lunches are packed, school supplies are bought and new clothes are laid out, I still feel a change in the air.

I have my own changes to deal with. My globe-trotting daughter is now living in Oxford, England where she starts her new teaching job tomorrow. I skyped with her today - she is terrified and excited and expects this transitional week will be unsettling until she gets her bearings. Her boyfriend will be heading over the end of this month to attend Oxford University so she will soon have company. Randi was having a little trouble finding a place to live but she eventually did find one. She skyped with us Friday night and the conversation went something like this.
"So I think I've found a place to live."
"Tell me about it Honey!"
"Well, it has pros and cons to it.The pros are it is a great family and I really connected with the mother. There are two lovely little girls. The neighborhood is great, the price is right and I only have to walk down the road to catch the bus to work! They are Muslim but they have no problem with me being Christian."
"Sound good to me - what are the cons?"
"The cons are I can't eat pork in the house, I have to dress modestly and Dan (boyfriend) is not allowed to step foot in the house....."
Ok.... from a mother's point of view, I'm not seeing any cons pork, no skivies and no for me!
My son headed off to University for his last year also. Less than 10 minutes after he drove away, our ballerina, Nami returned from a month in Japan to spend the school year with us. 

So my household has changed over. I feel the change in the air. 

And Time may change me, but I can't Trace time.