Posted in motivational, Uncategorized


“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Dr. Seuss was correct (always, even if he might not have said this one, who knows, but he makes me smile).
Nothing can protect you from the storms of life, not enough the biggest umbrella (thanks Rhianna/Jay-Z, I’ll never get that song out of my head). on those rain boots, galoshes, rubbers, overshoes, Wellies, whatever and go out and dance in the rain. Stand in it. Sit. Sleep.

Those storms are going to come, whether you fear them or not.
Change is going to come whether you fear it or not.
The lightning strikes of technology.
The rumbling thunder of racism.
The pelting hail of misinformation.
The sleet of corruption.

The hurricanes of hate.
The tornadoes of greed.
The slapping winds of regression.
Face them. Fight them. Survive them. But you can’t avoid them.

Ignoring something never made it go away. Get stormy, let your inner Mary Poppins out, and get on with it.

Too often in my life I’ve missed out on good, hell, amazing things because I was afraid. My fear stopped me. Siting on my shoulder, claws curled into my trembling flesh, cackling in my ear about how I was going to fail, how it wasn’t going to turn out anyway (it rarely did), I was going to get hurt, I was going flounder, or goof…

I was going to ruin things, even ruin my life I listened, avidly, to the voice of fear, so I missed out on smiling because it happened.

Much of what we fear stems from what we’ve learned, consciously or subconsciously.
Fear is actively used in: child-rearing, schooling, work, play, sports, politics, science, religion, movies, TV, books, business, and well, everything – then we’re shocked/surprised that fear rules us? Sometimes those fears are irrational and sometimes: “be afraid, be very afraid”.

So many fears…Fear of the dark comes from fear of the unknown (what’s out there I can’t see?).
Fear of strangers, immigrants, different races?  Just people you don’t know yet.

Fear of snakes?  Boo, hiss!
Fear of antiques? That gets old fast.
Fear of spiders?  Sorry Charlotte, you know I love you (and your web), but you’re super creepy looking.
Fear of bananas?  That’s bananas!
Fear of time?  But it’s so wibbly wobbly timey wimey.
Fear of falling asleep?  Probably good away after a good night’s sleep.
Fear of Trump?  Well, duh, that’s rational.
Fear of failure? It has all happened before and it will all happen again.
Fear of success?  I could live with that.
Fear of heights You never want to get to the bottom of things with that one, but I could fall for that fear.
Fear of planes, trains, and automobiles Really, it’s a hilarious movie.
Fear of books?  What?!? The?!? No, just no.
Fear of fear?  Nothing to fear but…

Yoda got it so right, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” ~C.S. Lewis
Some days I feel I’ve lost something, or am missing something. In those times, I go about my life with a weird, niggling feeling gnawing at the base of my skull.
Slowly I come to the same conclusion, it feels like fear, but it’s grief. Loss of loved ones, loss of health, loss of what could have been, loss of civility, loss of decency, loss of honour, loss of dreams as they fade into changed expectations.
Yet, at these moments, “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”  Jane Austen, my courage hasn’t always risen – I’ve been intimidated, dispirited, badgered, ruffled, browbeaten, disheartened, constrained…But sorry not sorry that’s a thing of the past (and it can stay there)
Fear is likely even part of my procrastination issues I’ve made a promise, to myself, to let my courage flag fly, I can’t always let them grind me down…

I used to believe if I tried to control everything I could control, even conquer my fear. That I could stop bad things from happening. Nope. The only thing I can control is how I react to fear. How I react to the bad things.
I’m out of control and loving it (when I’m not terrified beyond words).
Trust yourself. Respect yourself. Not the Fear.
And I hope you know, you can always stand under my umbrella (not with the Umbrella Corporation, they suck), or dance with me in the rain.

Posted in Books, Canada, Fibromyalgia, Holidays, Jane Austen, Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

Never Tear Us Apart


People talk about troubles, sing about troubles, write about troubles.
We try to solve troubles, outrun them, avoid them.
Troubles can tear us apart or bring us together.
I’ve worried over the years that I might be a trouble magnet, or that I brought on troubles…or even that I was troubled. As I got older, I realized troubles find most everyone, in one form or another, it’s how you meet those troubles, that’s what matters. I’ve had varying degrees of success with that part.

Distracting ourselves from our troubles by thinking about the troubles of others, isn’t that part of the magic of books, TV, and movies? I recently got captivated by “The Troubles” of a small supernatural Maine town…Sounds Stephen King-ish, that’s because Haven, my new addiction, is loosely based King’s The Colorado Kid and is crammed full of King references. Haven, going into Season 6, with it’s hilarious X-Files meets Twin Peaks meets Psych meets Supernatural à la Stephen King, but with more romance, just keeps getting better, unlike King’s Under The Dome.


Syfy’s Haven is bursting with talent, much of it Canadian (filmed in Canada), including the incredible Colin Ferguson (I miss Eureka soooo much), Adam Copeland (WWE’s Edge), and rumour has it William Shatner will soon visit Haven – that will be the icing on a wonderfully weird cake. And the complicated bromance between Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and Duke (Eric Balfour) is a delight to watch (sigh).


Should I have escaped some of my own troubles by falling into a Haven, or enjoying a 20-year-old pop culture burp (aka Clueless based on Jane Austen’s 1815 classic, Emma), or a war between angels and humans in Dominion? Perhaps not, but as it turned out, it gave me the excuse to slow down, take a break, and start to feel ever so slightly better.

Like most books, TV, and movies, these programs are actually about the characters, about friends, family, romance, and the choices they make, that we all make every day and how we face those choices, handle them, and the fallout (good or bad or neither or both). The supernatural stuff  is added as a cool hook (yes, I’m including Clueless as supernatural, wouldn’t you?).

So I’m glad to be back, more or less, and here’s what I got from my mini-break…

  • Life is for living and the living…small towns in Maine might be the exception.

  • Turns out they can tear us apart, literally and figuratively (you lied to me, INXS).

  • Life is short and unpredictable…enjoy the ride.


  • There’s always more than what we can ‘see’.

  • Little is as it seems.

  • You never know what’s going to be a trigger – for memories, anger, sorrow, joy, pain, hope.


  • The things you own can own you.

  • Sometimes what seems like a haven isn’t and vice versa.

  • Apparently angels, especially archangels like to dress in black leather, a lot.


  • John Lennon was correct, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

  • Love is the best and worst thing that can ever happen to you…sometimes both.

  • And last, but never least, you don’t need to be afraid of what you can’t explain…except Donald Trump, some things are just too freaky.


Posted in Awards, Blogs, Books, Canada, Cats, Chocolate, Internet, Uncategorized

I Can’t Make You Love Me

1blog70It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a blog, must be in want of readers.

For some, blogs take off faster than a Nascar driver chasing after sponsorship, for most others, like me, it’s a slow ride…

I know some of the reasons it’s been a slow ride, I’ve broken the first rule of The Blog Club, don’t talk about The Blog Club, no, that’s not it, oh yes, find a niche. Never have, probably never will. I figure if I get bored, you will too.

To me, giving blogging advice is like trying to explain to someone how to: dance, paint, drive, or make love in a canoe. Sometimes you just have to do it and make the mistakes, have the close calls, possibly tip over at the most inopportune moment.

When asked my blogging advice I offered

 …but with a rebel yell you cried more, more, more…so here goes:

1. Choose a name for your blog. I didn’t know this was important when I choose mine. Live and learn.


2. Size matters, but it’s more about how you use it, mind out of the gutter, I’m taking about post size. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much they love your posts, your readers have lives.

3. Try to use images that work with your post. Adding a random picture of an adorable kitten just to suck up to the cats who run the internet might be smart, but come on, who does that?


4. Don’t get too stressed about the numbers, like right now, most numbers seem down on WordPress, who knows why? First, I blamed the Royal baby, but Princess Charlie is just too awfully cute. Then Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, Mother’s Day, elections, weather, labour unrest, but in the end I had to admit the truth – it’s WordPress. They probably changed their algorithms, come on, they’re always changing something, so statistically (and they love stats), it has to be them.

5. Poofread, er, proofread or get someone else to (and you can always correct it afterwards). We all make mistakes.


6. I can’t make you love me, well, actually, my posts, but one of the best parts about blogging is connecting with your readers and other bloggers, without all of you, what’s the point? Like everything else, sometimes you have to take someone’s hand and other times, offer yours.

7.  It’s not a race or a contest. Don’t worry if  a post is going to go viral, or get Freshly Pressed or be nominated for awards, or making you rich and famous. Take a deep breath. Right now is about right now.


8. Blogging advice can be confusing, here’s the problem, what I think is terribly catchy and clever might not be to others. Obviously I think I’m writing something good, otherwise why would I publish it? Do what you want to do.


9. To be a shameless self-promoting bloghussy like me or not to be, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous rejection while promoting on social media….aye, there’s the rub. I like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, but Facebook just lays there like a mouldy, old ad-filled sock. 

10. Don’t worry about if you’re going to offend someone, it’s the internet, someone is always, and I mean always, offended. Always.


Who am I kidding? I have no idea what works. I’ve poured my heart out and had the post sit there, alone, shivering like the last leaf on a tree before winter. Just do what you feel is right, in the famous words of those sage philosophers, Cheap Trick, “Surrender, Surrender, but don’t give yourself away”.

What about you, dear readers, what would be your best blogging advice?


Posted in Books, Doctor Who, Jane Austen, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized, Zombies

These Foolish Things

1foolish15It was quite late when I watched the film, These Foolish Things. I fancied this would have been a funny and interesting episode of The Walking Dead…well, except Andrew Lincoln was too clean, there were no zombies, and most notably, he didn’t kill anyone, not that it wasn’t tempting for him, I’m sure.

Then my mind jumped to how cool it would be, if the other actors in the movie, like Terence Stamp and Anjelica Houston showed up in an episode of The Walking Dead – people might not be so scared of the zombies then.

These Foolish Things, a fine movie based on the hilarious Noel Langley novel, There’s A Porpoise Close Behind Us, or as an alternate title to parts of my life.

I wish this adaptation was less melodramatic love triangle and more humour, although letting Terence Stamp have a go at it worked, in a big way.

1foolish10I don’t know if it was conscious decision, but next I rewatched the latest Sense and Sensibility, starring David Morrissey and Dan Stevens, which in my tired brain made me think of combining The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey…hmm, The Downton Dead?

I love the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility, but this adaptation is more visceral with substantial intensity and sensuality, implied of course, this is Jane Austen after all. Austen was able to extend and express herself, you can really feel the frustration of the women as their circumstances are reduced, but with no ability to raise them up, except to the glass ceiling of marriage.

This timeless tale of love found and lost and found again is a classic for a reason, it doesn’t matter how many adaptations, the power of Austen’s story shines through.

Still on the subject of Jane Austen and zombies, I was pleased to hear the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies based on the book by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Books) has begun filming.

The cast is an intriguing mix: Matt Smith (Doctor Who fans know him as the 11th Doctor).1dead14 Charles Dance and Lena Headey from Game of Thrones. Father and daughter again? At least they’re used to a high body count. Lily James (Rose from Downton Abbey), Bella Heathcoate, Sam Riley, Douglas Booth, Jack Houston and more. Natalie Portman, unfortunately, is going to produce instead of star, as was originally suggested.

I love Austen, but I’m not a purist, I think it’s cool reading or watching genres collide.

It’s not such a stretch, death during the Regency period was a complicated matter.
Women weren’t allowed at funerals because of their delicate sensibilities yet somehow that fragility didn’t extend to preparing the deceased.
Speeches weren’t allowed in graveyards because it was consecrated ground.1dead6
Cages or concrete slabs on graves, under certain circumstances, even stakes through the heart – all intended to prevent premature resurrection (oh my!).
Posed photos of the dead.
All the literature and folklore concerning the dead…
Zombies would have fit right in.

Over 200 years ago, Jane Austen gave the world Pride and Prejudice.

5 years ago, it was reanimated, ready to take a bite out of the world…

Posted in Books, Cooking, Family, Food, Jane Austen, Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

Bride and Prejudice and Butter Chicken

1butter18A Bollywood-style version of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice? Bollywood is cool, in small doses, I even attempt to dance along, but Bollywoodization of Austen?

I was pleasantly surprised by Bride and Prejudice starring Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson (The Ring), Naveen Andrews (Lost), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Nadira Babbar, Anupam Kher, and a wonderful supporting cast. It was more Hollywood Bollywood, with plenty of romance and dance. A thoroughly modern version. I won’t get into the colonialism issues, that’s for another post.


Of course all this got me thinking of Indian cuisine. I can’t think of a curry, chutney, masala, dal, paneer, gosht, dahi, lentil, chickpea, raiti, naan, vindaloo I don’t love, wait, I’m not horribly fond of mung beans.

When I got this copy of The New Indian Slow Cooker by Neela Paniz (Ten Speed Press) from I found it incongruous; Indian cooking is meticulous and methodical,  would it work with a slow cooker? I understand the practicality of it, I love slow cooking. So why not give it a try?
I perused the recipes, all well-written and accompanied by mouth-watering images that made me want to reach into the pages, tear off a piece of naan and scoop up some curry.


Then I saw my friend and arch nemesis, butter chicken. Silky cream caressing your senses as you swim in a river of abounding contentment. Yes, I thought, you shall decide. Let The Hunger Games begin, but you know, with less fighting and death, more cooking delicious food.

While the butter chicken was delicious and easier than usual (after cooking just add butter sauce to whatever version of cooked chicken you like, or turkey or tofu or paneer), I may stay with longer cooking, unless I’m short on time.

Does it bother anyone when they take a classic and change it?
I don’t mean bother as in people being blown up, deadly viruses, planes being shot out of the sky, government corruption, lies, etc., maybe more like annoy.
I’m of two minds, I love the classics, but enjoy renovations or adaptations, not that there aren’t bumps, but I sometimes think, why can’t they leave well enough alone and get some new ideas?

What about with cooking? Why not just enjoy what we have, then again, if we did that what culinary wonders would have been left undiscovered?


Butter Chicken

3 tablespoons butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup half and half
Substitute coconut milk or lower fat milk or non-diary for cream and half and half, it will thin your recipe, but 1 tsp of corn starch will thicken it.
¼ cup water
Ginger and chilis (1-3 pieces each to taste) or you can use powered, 1 tsp each
2 tbsp sugar or 2 tbsp honey
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt


Melt butter on med-high heat.
Add diary. Mix well.
Add water.
Then spices and sugar. Mix well.
Cover, reduce heat to low (whether on the stove or in slow cooker).
In slow cooker, cook for about 5 hours; on the stove, 2 hours, but remember to stir.

This will keep in fridge for 2 weeks, sealed, or in freezer for 2 months.

This book and others have many variations on this recipe, this is the one I usually use, feel free to play with all, have some spicy fun… and don’t forget to dance.


Posted in Books, Cooking, Food, Jane Austen, Uncategorized

Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs

Howard Books/ Simon and Schuster

You had me at chili…and Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley eating chili? Sorry, what was I writing about, oh yes, this engaging restructuring of Jane Austen’s Emma by Mary Jane Hathaway.

Sometimes I like adaptations of Jane Austen, sometimes I don’t. This one is lovely.

Modern day.
Southern United States.
Caroline and Brooks have been friends since childhood.
Caroline has returned home to care for her mother. Brooks listens to her, cares about her, he’s hot, kind, chivalrous, smart, funny, rich, and brings her chili-slaw dogs to brighten her terrible day…why can’t she stop friendzoning him?
This is just one in the Jane Austen Takes The South series, but it made me want to read more.
Here’s the yummy part, the author borrowed from Ms. Austen, but then added her own touches to spice things up.


I don’t eat hot dogs anymore, but I still love chili so here’s my version of Chili-Slaw Dogs.

Roast or fry zucchini sticks, peppers & onion w/olive oil &  balsamic vinegar…instead of a hot dog.
Top w/ vegetarian chili or chili.
If using meat, please make sure it’s cooked before you add the rest of the chili ingredients.

Here’s a basic chili recipe – spice to taste.

Add the diced veggies, spices, olive oil to frying pan or large pot. Cook on medium heat, about 5 mins.
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, fried.
3-5 Celery stalks or veg purée
2 carrots
Chilis or chilli powder
Italian herbs and spices (to taste)
3 cloves Garlic
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. pepper

Add diced veggies, spices, olive oil to frying pan or large pot. Cook on medium heat, about 5 mins.
Add 2 cups crushed or diced tomatoes, 3 cups beans. Bring to a boil, then turn to simmer for 1-3 hrs.
Ideas for beans: Kidney, black, navy, brown beans, Lentils…fava beans? Or a combo.
Make a double or half batch; whatever works for you.

To slaw or not to slaw.
Half a cabbage,
shredded carrots,
¾ cup of mayonnaise,
1 tsp cider vinegar,
1 tbsp honey,
½ tsp salt
Lower calories without losing taste, cut mayonnaise in ½ – add plain or Greek yogurt.
Have fun, experiment.

Guess what I had for supper last night?


Bun is optional; toast it first so it doesn’t get soggy.

Top the chili w/ cheese. Then slaw, or not.


A cool margarita or mint julep (with or without the alcohol) to beat the heat?


If you’re looking for refreshing romantic #Summerreading check this out…
I’m off to find the other books in this series.

I borrowed this book from Netgalley; for bloggers out there, this is an amazing place to get great digital editions free. Check it out

“You must be the best judge of your own happiness.” ~Jane Austen, Emma

Posted in Books, Jane Austen, Uncategorized

Unleashing Mr. Darcy



Despite the title, no safe words needed, this isn’t 50 Shades of Darcy (note to self, write a novel called 50 Shades of Darcy); instead this is a sweet, romantic working of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in a modern world of dog shows.

Teri Wilson has stayed true to Ms. Austen’s core of Pride and Prejudice, making it all about First Impressions (Ms. Austen’s working title for Pride and Prejudice) especially the fact that Ms. Austen proves that in P & P and all her other works that first impressions are often wrong.


We’ve all met someone who we think is lovely or someone who we think is horrid and it turns out, we were incorrect, they’re in fact, horrid or lovely instead.
Sometimes it’s circumstances that give us the wrong impression, or the mood of the person, or our mood, or the other issue Ms. Austen loves to use in her stories, misunderstandings. Pride and Prejudice and her other works are riddled with misunderstandings that lead people to think certain things that may not be true or just. Ms. Wilson also added dogs and dog shows.


I unabashedly adore romance novels and movies. They lighten my mood and relax me. They make me think of being young and carefree.  They’re also a lovely palate cleanser between non-fiction, politics (sorry, I can’t list that with the non-fiction because there are so many fictional elements in politics, sadly), horror, sci-fi, fantasy, drama, and of course, real life.


This was a delightful read, as we follow Miss Elizabeth Scott and her beloved Cavalier, Bliss through misadventures, misunderstands and reaching 30. From New York to London, Elizabeth struggles to find her way while continuing to be thrown into the path of smug but gorgeous billionaire dog breeder and judge Donovan Darcy.


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good romance novel and some chocolate (yes, any ice cream included, of course) can improve even the roughest of days.