Brought to you by the Letter B

For your listening pleasure, I present to you a whole lot of letter Bs! 

The venue is the fabulous Yukon Arts Center, Whitehorse Yukon, part of the last show I produced there. Rockin’ the Casbah, March 19, 2011. Some of my favourite people played in that band. Mr. C was director & I was the bari sax player, but you’ll see my horn is on its stand for this tune. I was backstage getting changed for a dance number! 

Here you go…enjoy!

Gareth Howells on trumpet with The Big Band in Bye Bye Blackbird.

I’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday).  Come back tomorrow for the letter C! 


A is for April

April Showers

April is the month that the snow finally melts in the Yukon. It’s a chilly, muddy month. A month for the last of the cross country skiing before you get too far into the calendar. For jumping on the trampoline in your wool socks and hoodie, mud boots kicked off and lying to the side. A month where detritus melts out of snowbanks full of gravel, a winter’s worth of dog poop revealed in the yard, plastic bags blowing in the wind. April brings the first rain we’ve seen in 6 or 7 long months.  The rain that comes to take the away the snow, wash the winter from your soul. 

I’m going to give the Blogging From A-Z in April challenge a shot. That’s one blog post per day April
(except Sundays). That’s 26 blog posts. One for each letter of the alphabet.  Wish me luck!

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? The goal of National Novel Writing Month is to write a novel (or 50,000 words of a novel) during the month of November. That’s about 1800 words each day. When I retired at the end of last November, one of the things I looked forward to doing was to spend time writing. I haven’t. Written, that is (unless you count blog posts, which I really don’t.)

Now, I’ve been visiting a friend in Ottawa for the last two weeks, so haven’t been able to do much in the way of preparation. In fact, I’m dashing off this little post while waiting to board my flight home! Anyway, according to the NaNoWriMo calendar, today is the day to publicly state your intention.

I am going to give this my best shot. I’m going to put my head down and see what happens. Good or ugly. Maybe no one will read it but me, and that’s okay.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo too, you can find me on their site under the name nitadances. Hope to see ya there!


On knowledge, wisdom and a good bullshit detector {Just Write 8}

Good Sunday morning!

I am sitting here by my kitchen window, coffee at my elbow and browsing my morning blog posts.  The washing machine and the dryer are both on and I can barely hear the radio over the noise. Not that I’m paying attention, but I enjoy Michael Enright’s Sunday Edition, and CBC is always muttering away in the background of my life, whether I’m paying attention or not. Then, suddenly, some words made their way past the mechanical white noise of the dryer, and I heard this: wisdom is the perspective that knowledge gives us in how we live our lives.

Stopped me in my tracks. Caused me to tilt my ear toward the under-the-counter-mounted radio, like my little dog does when he hears something interesting. Actually caused me to set my (now empty) coffee cup down and pause.

What is wisdom? Wisdom is that which comes from the knowledge we have accumulated throughout our lives, and the perspective which we apply to it.

What is knowledge? Knowledge is understanding as opposed to opinion

  1. facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
    “a thirst for knowledge”
    • That is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information.
      “the transmission of knowledge”
    • Philosophy
      true, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion.
    2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.

It is knowledge and wisdom working together that make a good bullshit detector. We all need a good bullshit detector. It’s what causes us to ask questions. It’s what allows us to think critically. To look beyond face value to what lies behind. To look below the surface. To look beyond an acceptable answer and discover the real answer. A good bullshit detector protects us from charlatans. It prevents us from accepting defeat too soon.

In some ways, you could say that wisdom is simply having a good bullshit detector.

Think about it.

But then, you already knew that, didn’t you. I suppose I did, too. I’ve just never thought about it quite this way.


Today I’m sharing an excerpt from a story I’m working on …

I sat up in bed, instantly awake, all my senses on high alert. The echo of my name ricocheted around the room. I held my breath, listening, but all I could hear was the blood pounding through my veins. I had heard my name spoken, loud as thunder, only moments ago. Disturbed, I gathered a blanket around my shoulders and went outside. There was no moon and the sky was full of stars. Orion with his jeweled belt had long since set and Leo, the eternal question mark, hung low in the West. Turning, I looked northward and there, twisting and turning as it climbed its way into the sky was the blue and green ribbon of the Aurora Borealis. Fingers of light undulated above me to a rhythm as ancient as the sun.  Overwhelmed, I lay down on the grass and watched the heavens dance.

The night felt alive, and I felt a great unseen crowd of people gathering around me. I heard my name whispering through the grass, and I imagined the souls of humanity pressing me into the earth, walking past, over and through me. It became difficult to breath. My vision began to blur and I blinked and squinted, unable to look away from the aurora. It had grown in size until it filled the entire night sky. Gossamer fingers of light began breaking apart and shooting down, flashing and sparkling like silver rain down the sides of a dome. My own fingers curled, grabbing fists of dirt and grass. I pressed my shoulders down and flexed my knees and hamstrings as hard as I could. Digging my heels into the ground, I anchored myself against the earth. Where had everyone gone? I agonized, and why had I been left behind? Suddenly loss turned into anger. They could take everything away from me, whatever the scheme, whatever the reason, but love and fear and anger and purpose were mine. I felt a primal urge to fight back welling up in me. I opened my mouth. Gasped in a great lung-full of air. Bellowed out to the universe, “I …AM!” And again, the force of my voice lifting my chest and shoulders off of the ground, “I … AM!”

As suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The aurora vanished. The stars returned to their rightful places and I lay panting and shivering in the damp night air. Maybe I didn’t know what the hell was going on, but I’d be damned if I was going to give in.

Just write {8} – linking in with The Extraordinary Ordinary and Lily’s Quilts: Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet

Just Write {7} Two pairs of boots

At the end of the day today, when work is finished and I am back home, I am going to kick off these shoes which hurt my feet even though they are Romikas and cost a fortune 10 years ago.

Every now and then I forget and put them on (they’re still practically brand new though they are a decade old, after all) and wear them to work, as I thoughtlessly did this morning.

In honor of my retirement, I am going to toss all of my uncomfortable office shoes and buy myself a pair of beautiful leather boots – the kind that barely come to your ankle. The kind that feel like gloves on your feet, so when I go walking around my new town, to the grocery store and the library, meandering across the railroad tracks and down to the wharf, my feet will carry me in elegant comfort: practical and proud and damn fine looking.

And I am going to buy myself a second pair of boots – sturdy hiking boots so that my feet can carry me in safety and comfort up hill and over dale, on hidden forest trails and across high alpine meadows. Working boots for my working- gal feet.

Damn right.


This is my 7th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. I am linking up with The Extraordinary Ordinary.