Deleted, The writer’s struggle.

Do you ever feel like something you’ve written is not good enough? That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. My lack of writing/posts is due primarily to that precise feeling. I’ve started articles on all sorts of subjects and as I read through them they feel muddled or off point.

The worst part is when you get an idea at night while in bed and then in the morning have no real recollection of what the idea was or how to present it.

And then comes that moment when you are at your desk, staring at the blank screen and the cursor flashes at you… over and over and over and over… and you begin to wonder if you are slowly going mad.


Writing isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. I find I’m best late at night and when in a busy coffee shop amongst a crowd. However, small town life means that coffee shops aren’t open late and early mornings are an unfortunate necessity.

So what do you write? Well as you can see this post is about being unable to write.

I have articles that I’m working on and ideas that are flowing but they aren’t flowing fast enough for my personal preference.

What do you do when you are unable to write? Do you have tips or tricks to share?

Small Town Saskatchewan




SmallTown SK

Often when trying to explain what life is like in small town Saskatchewan I start off by asking if you’ve ever seen the TV show Corner Gas. It’s kinda like that,… only a little more eventful. Flat landscapes with endless blue skies, dirt roads, fields of grain, and of course our iconic silos but we’re so much more than our scenery. Welcome to the “real” small town Saskatchewan where “game day” is the highlight of the week, people congregate at the post office to chat and catch up on the local gossip while checking the mail and the folks at the grocery store know you by name. It’s the kind of place that people know where you live, what you drive and what you do before they meet you. The sense of community is all encompassing and I have to say, its an amazing place to live.


Game Day


First off, I didn’t choose the small town life, small town life chose me,… or maybe life chose it for me. Either way, I’m revelling the experience of living in a small town of under 4200 residents and spending time with family. It’s the kind of town where it’s not unusual to have someone stop you on the street and ask if you need a lift because they notice your car isn’t in the driveway lately so it’s probably at the mechanics, or the grocery store clerk mentioning that someone popped in to ask for your phone number because you aren’t in the phone book but it’s on your account with the grocers. I’ve spoken with friends back in Edmonton and other big cities that find those examples creepy however around here, it’s pretty normal. I have to say that it’s pretty reassuring when my car got stuck in a snow drift to have 3 separate vehicles stop and offer to help us while we waited for the tow truck. It’s the kind of place that really reinforces your belief in human decency.



Melville SK has some amazing history which is why I enjoy exploring it’s past and present. See, back in 1908 this small town was THE departure town for surrounding communities to take the train. It was also the hub of the community. Today it stands as a testament to the ravages of time being fought by a host of volunteers that strive to restore this building to it’s former glory. You can follow the progress and fundraising efforts here. There is more to the town than our train station, wander the streets and see the diverse architecture, the range of churches, our old brick town hall which makes our town’s past part of our future.


A foggy day


One thing you learn about Saskatchewan is that you can never fully anticipate the weather or what tomorrow will bring. Yesterday was snowy and gloomy. This morning I awoke to this foggy vista of hore frosted trees and bare streets, by mid morning the sun was shining and the frost was gone replaced by bare brown branches with little buds struggling to grow. Being a farming community the weather makes or breaks the yearly economy. Too much rain and the land floods, too little and we experience drought, both of which make the weather a vital part of the community’s focus.


Overall small town life is an adventure. Want to know more about small town Saskatchewan? This link gives you videos and pictures from little places across the province of Saskatchewan.



An open letter to employers

I am currently a writer for a career blog but was recently asked “How can I make sure I’m hiring the right person for a job? Some times the person that has the right education doesn’t have the skills/experience or vice versa. Sometimes I’m happy to hire someone that will better fit the team, regardless of their skills/background. How do I get the right person?”

Since it didn’t really fit into the blog I thought I’d post it on my personal site for my readers. Without any further ado, I offer you an open letter to employers:

You find yourself with a vacancy on your team and are seeking a rockstar employee to fill the spot. They need to know their stuff but you’re more concerned with how well they’ll mesh with your already finely tuned team because you can build on skills for the right person. So how do you go about it?

Getting past a person’s “business ready persona” is a challenge but not impossible. There’s a few assessments you can do to find your next awesome employee.

First Impression
When you greeted the employee did they return your enthusiasm? How was their handshake? Nerves make people act differently but doing interviews you learn to assess that first impression.

Interview with colleague
I make it a policy to institute two person interviews whenever I join a new company. The basic principle is that there are two interviewers in each session, one to ask the questions and the other to assess the candidate. I often let someone else ask the questions and I make notes on the candidates answers, body language, ability to answer clearly, etc. After the interview my colleague and I sit down and discuss our notes. This allows us to discuss and view each candidate clearly.

Ask the right questions
Before the interview, make a list of your questions and if you can answer any of them with yes or no, rephrase them. Make sure you have technical questions and personality questions. Technical questions are ones that specifically ask the candidate to describe how they performed certain tasks or used programs, “In your previous position you used Simply Accounting. Describe what you used that program for? How did your company utilise the program and describe your level of use?” Personality questions are still open ended but they allow you to find out how the person handles stress, rough days, etc.  “You arrive at work to find that there was a power outage and your computer isn’t working. What would you do in this situation?” or “You receive a complaint from an irate customer, they claim that you made an error and the company owes them money, how do you handle this situation?”. In a previous position in the construction industry we often asked, “Our office has a large base of tradesmen and sometimes their language in common areas can be offensive. How do you respond to that type of language?”, because we knew that this could be a potential issue. Ask the questions you need to in order to find out the answers you require.

Manage the conversation
Nothing is as frustrating as a candidate that doesn’t give a clear and concise answer to a question. You are moderating the conversation and sometimes you need to step in and redirect the candidate. This is perfect for the “silent” interview partner to do because it allows the person asking the question to keep their rhythm.
Question: “None of us are perfect, we all have areas we can improve upon. What would your previous employers identify as one of your weaknesses?”
Flubbering candidate: “Great question, that’s a really good one…. Um,…” *Insert the sound of crickets here* “… well, wow, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure.”
Silent interviewer: “Let’s look at it another way, What areas would you say you could be stronger in?”

Most importantly, don’t allow the candidate to control the entire conversation. If you don’t understand an answer, ask for clarification. It’s your show, get your money’s worth.

Be True to yourself and your brand
In the interview, use the language of your company culture. If words like “awesome, epic, brilliant, stellar” are used than use them in the interview. The way that you conduct yourself will give cues to how relaxed or professional the candidate needs to be in the interview. If you relax and are friendly, you’ll find the candidates will be more willing to show their true selves.

If you get stuck, give an expert a call. Networks like Linkedin give you a connection to professionals and former colleagues that are often more than happy to help out if you get stuck. Alternatively the federal and provincial governments have websites and helplines for employers to get additional resources. Lastly, you can always hire an HR Consultant like me.


Book Review: The Venetians by Paul Strathern

I am thrilled to bring to you this review of the book The Venetians, A new History: From Marco Polo to Casanova by Paul Strathern.

The Venetians The history of Venice is a tumultuous tale full of colourful figures, tragedy and change which has  created our modern version: the most serene Republic of Venice.

Mr Strathern has managed to pull this history together into a cohesive narrative along with an engaging story. From it’s victories on the battlefield to the tragic defeats resulting in loss of it’s lands you follow along in the journey Venice travelled to greatness.

The description:

 The Republic of Venice was the first great economic, cultural, and naval power of the modern  Western world. After winning the struggle for ascendency in the late 13th century, the  Republic enjoyed centuries of unprecedented glory and built a trading empire which at its  apogee reached as far afield as China, Syria, and West Africa. This golden period only drew to  an end with the Republic’s eventual surrender to Napoleon.

The Venetians brings to life the Republic during it’s less Serene years with it’s struggles and  triumphs. Included is a look at some of the most notorious personalities of the time: Marco  Polo,  Galileo, Titian, Vivaldi and Casanova. The reader sees Milan and Florence and it’s  relationship with it’s Northern cousin through the eyes of the Venetian of the 13th century.

Writing tales of war that occurred centuries ago can be tough to do clearly. Mr Strathern writes in such a way you feel as though you have an intimate understanding of the concerns and struggles of each historical figure, with their political and economic struggles.  Paul Strathern walks you through the rise and fall of Doges, Kings, Politicians and others that mapped the face of Italy and it’s lands.

 This book is an excellent read for the historian, battle strategist or lover of Italian History. 

This book gets a 3 out of 5 stars for its engaging narrative and ability to bring history to life in an enjoyable yet detailed read.


More Title Details

  • ISBN: 9781480448384
  • Price: 24.99
  • Currency: USD
  • Edition: Other Format

New Years Day 2014

Happy 2014 to everyone!

Another new year and for many, it’ll be the start of a new transformation. As with every year there’s resolutions for weightloss, new jobs, more travel, less stress and many more equally admirable goals. As for me, I’m skipping the resolutions this year. I probably could use a few well intended goals but I don’t think I would know where to start. Instead I’m going to recap some awesomeness from 2013.

My 2013 has had it’s share of ups, downs and sideways moves. Here’s the photo highlights:

I travelled up north to the land of the 24 hour sun


I spent many late night hours on this sunny shore eating supper and spending time with co-workers from across Canada. Before travelling up north, I had never heard of Norman Wells nor did I have any clue what life was like in a town that relied on barges for food and goods transport.


Being as it’s a fly in/fly out town (no roads in or out) you get pretty adept at flying in small planes. I also had my first of many helicopter flights this year. It’s not quite as they show it in the movies. It’s bumpy and bouncy and loud but it’s an awesome ride.

I went to Ottawa.

I went to Ottawa. Not knowing what I was going to do next I hopped a plane to a place I’d never been and wandered our nation’s capital. The museums were glorious, the food amazing and the people were so fantastic I endeavoured to stay. 


Elizabeth of York; A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

I started to review books and got a paid blogging gig for a national job search website. I feel rather fortunate about it. 

I didn’t think 2013 was my year but over all it ended on a great note. My New Year’s Eve was spent at a friend’s place drinking bubbly and watching water disaster movies while heckling and making bad jokes. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Crawling into bed at 3 am I thought of posting but decided I’d wait until my head cleared and I’d slept.

Most of all, I’ve loved writing this blog. Whether I have one reader or thousands, it’s all been a joy.

In the book of 2014 I have high hopes for it but rather than skipping ahead and looking for spoilers, I’m going to focus on waiting for the return of Sherlock tomorrow and to see if my theory on how he survived was correct.

Did you make a resolution? If so, what was it? If not, why not?

May your 2014 bring you more joy and abundance of prosperity than other years.


Comic Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London

I have a strange love for the scientific mind of Sherlock Holmes. Having recently watched a documentary on his impact on our modern world through pop culture, it’s hard to deny that this character that some confuse for a real person was truly a gift that Arthur Conan Doyal gave to the world at large.

I’m also a fan of the classic vampire lore; the Nosferatu, Dracula, and of course the version best played by Bella Lugosi. While vampires of late have been made to sparkle, have souls, become gentle lovers, etc, there’s something to be said about the classic demon vampire.

If you have a love for both the classic vampire and Sherlock Holmes as played by Jeremy Brett, my latest comic book review is definitely for you. Without further ado, let me introduce to you, coming soon from Dark Horse comics:

Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London, A Dark Horse Publication

Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London

By: Sylvain Cordurie and Vlatamire Kistic-Laci
Release date: February 11, 2014

“Sherlock Holmes died fighting Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. At least, that’s what the press claims. However, Holmes is alive and well and taking advantage of his presumed death to travel the globe. Unfortunately, Holmes’s plans are thwarted when a plague of vampirism begins haunting Britain.”

What a great concept! The analytical mind of Sherlock Holmes pitted against a Vampiric foe in Victorian Europe. The story starts a few months after the tale of Richenbach’s fall, something that will be close to the hearts of fans of the BBC’s current series Sherlock as well as the movie franchise Sherlock Holmes staring Robert Downey Jr in the title role. What I loved first off was that the story takes you back to the classic original Sherlock Holmes. The older gent with a regal air about himself that uses terms like “repugnant”.

As any good Sherlockian tale there are cameos by Mycroft, Lestrade, and of course the happily married Doctor Watson and his wife but this story is centred around the presumed deceased Sherlock. It seems that there is a vampire community within western Europe and the head of this clan requires the help of  our dear favored detective to resolve a problem that plagues both the undead blood suckers and the Royal family.

What you get is a romp through Paris, London and Covington as Detective Holmes must solve this supernatural dilemma while attempting to lower the human body count.

Not for the faint of heart, this story is masterfully told in both it’s writing and the skillful artwork.

This book gets a 4 out of 5 stars for its movie quality story telling that I’m sure Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would approve of.

More Title Details

  • ISBN9781616552664
  • Price17.99
  • CurrencyUSD
  • EditionHardcover

Hayley Hobson’s Hip Guide to Creating Your Sexy And Abundant Life

This week I reviewed

Hayley Hobson’s Hip Guide to Creating Your Sexy And Abundant Life

by Hayley Hobson
Release date: Aug 13 2013 


Hayley Hobson’s Hip Guide to Creating Your Sexy And Abundant Life


First off, I wish I had this book 5 years ago when I was going through what felt like a mental and physical collapse. This book would have saved me a ton of frustration and personal anger. Hayley gives you a personal look at her life, struggles and sorrows as she strives for a healthy lifestyle.

I love that she offers a full circle health outlook, meaning physical, emotional, and spiritual. The book breaks up the chapters with yoga routines and healthy recipes making it an easy and interactive read.

The best part is that while reading this book, I keep thinking “I need to give a copy to my friend” and then “but you know, this passage would really help another friend…” I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this book to any friends I have that might need a boost, but also to those that enjoy yoga, fitness and good health.

This book easily gets a 5 out of 5 stars for Hayley’s raw personal struggles and recommendations to help others along their path to fitness.

More Title Details

  • ISBN: 9781492135005
  • Price: 23.70
  • Currency: USD
  • Edition: Paperback

Self Care: A return to the enjoyment of food

Before heading to work in the oil field I made the decision to quit drinking. The main reason was that I didn’t want to complicate my job by drinking with colleagues and I thought the change would do me good. The self imposed sobriety lasted throughout the term of the position and more. I’ve been doing a considerable amount of thinking on the subject of cultural attachments to alcohol of late as well as the correlation between good food and good wine. Being in Ottawa with it’s proximity to Quebec, the considerably large local French community instantly makes me think of France. And as many others, when I think of France I think of the wine and food.

I have an infinitely simple way of overwhelming myself by focusing on too many details at once and lately that’s been causing me to feel an overall sense of stress. Rather than allow myself to continue along this route, I took a note from Hayley Hobsons’ latest book and decided upon some self care before I imploded.

(Photo not my own, rather from online search)

(Photo not my own, rather from online search)

With this goal in mind, I headed to the grocery store in search of some savoury treats reminiscent of French or Italian food. I wanted food that was not going to be rushed bur rather savoured and enjoyed in peace and tranquillity. In my mind I envisioned a small feast of good flavourful cheese, savoury olives, rustic bread with a crunchy crust and delectable red wine. I was soon to discover that my fantasy meal was to be rather challenging to put together. Since becoming vegetarian I don’t eat meat and rarely consume real milk or cheese so this excursion was a bit daunting as upon arrival in the cheese aisle, I had no clue what to choose for my special “treat” meal. To the frustration of at least one other patron, I circled the cheese case numerous times searching for something strong, with good flavor and a decent price that pairs well with olives and wine. Goodness was it ever tough. I settled on an aged salted Havarti and proceeded to the olives.

Olives are something I’ve acquired a taste for in recent years and is often a treat rather than something I keep in the cupboard. They had the usual stuffed, pitted, unpitted, mixed varieties but the choice came easily as soon as I saw the large green pitted olives. They looked so delicious I could almost taste them.

With those in hand all that was left was the bread and wine. A quick jaunt by the bakery secured me a crusty baguette and then it was off to choose wine.

Having not consumed wine for quite a while and being out of my element (as they didn’t carry any Okanagan wines which are my staple variety) I realised I needed some professional help selecting my vintage. The clerk was exceptionally helpful and after stating that I was looking for a red wine with a full body but not too tart flavor, he recommended the 2011 Inniskillin Niagara Estate Series Cabernet Franc. The wine boasts; Cabernet Franc displays raspberry, cranberry and floral aromas and flavours. With all the ingredients in hand for this treat I returned home and prepared myself for a journey of the senses.

I sat down to this special meal with anticipation. I ensured that I did not have my phone beside me, nor my iPad. This meal was to be specially enjoyed without distraction and I have to say, it was perfect. The wine was fantastic and everything else complimented each other spectacularly. The saltiness of the flavorful cheese helped accentuate every note of the fruity Cabernet Franc. The tart flavors of the olive and the mellow baguette mingled delightfully and with each mouthful the world slipped away a little more at a time. I was experiencing true gourmand bliss.

This whole “foodie” experience brought me back to one major thing that is often over looked in our busy daily lives: the enjoyment of food. It’s been vilified, bad mouthed and marginalised in our lives. No longer do we linger over a meal and conversation without distraction while purely enjoying the sensory experience of our food and the shared company. Rather we rush through meals while on social media or mentally focused on the next task at hand that we often over look this most basic method of self care.

Self care is when we remember that we need to do special things for ourselves and our well being. Instead, we go and go until we are spent before wondering why we have no energy. Personally this is something I know I do too often. Sometimes we all need to do something nice for ourselves, even when it seems expensive and lavish, in order to maintain our spirit.

What has been your treat to yourself lately?


Book Review: Elizabeth of York A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

Today’s book review has taken a bit longer then anticipated because I have a previous understanding of the book material and really wanted to savour each part of the book:

Elizabeth of York; A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York;
A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York  A Tudor Queen and Her World

by Alison Weir
Release Date: December 3 2013

With all the fascination with Elizabeth of York in books like The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, it’s refreshing to have someone release a book that is not a fantasy novel. Alison Weir knows her subject well and has a delightful way of telling the story of this often misunderstood woman without the need to fantasize the story into something akin to a romance novel.

Having a vague familiarity with the War of the Roses and the major players, I was eager to read this book and further expand my understanding of this prominent character. What I discovered is a delightfully thorough examination of this woman that became Queen, I devoured this book with joy.

Being a history buff, I adore how Alison Weir provides details on daily routines, the modern equivalent of the royal spending/earnings, and a more personal insight into the motivations of these larger than life historical characters. I often find that most authors assume that we readers know and are exceptionally familiar with each Elizabeth, Mary and Edward that is spoken of, however Alison Weir understands the confusion and makes it much easier to comprehend which Beth is which.

We follow the life of this seemingly demure Queen from her roots and childhood through her fascinating life as Queen to Henry VII, and continues onto her death in February 11, 1503.

While Henry the 8th became the most popularly known of her children, she had 6 others that led the politics of the day due to their royal lineage.

If you have a budding interest in history and want to learn what really happened, I would highly recommend this book. If you are a historian that is well versed in the War of the Roses or are familiar with the Tudors, I think you will enjoy the rich history that Alison Weir eloquently describes.

This book gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me as it will certainly become a repeat read and I’m so delighted to go back and read it again.


I found my heart in the Nation’s Capital

After being laid off from the oilfield I decided to do something out of my comfort zone and spent a week in Ottawa. Being a west coast girl this has been amazing. However, I can’t seem to write about being here because there’s so much to tell and nothing I have written has done the experience justice. As they say in show biz, the show must go on!
I found my heart in Ottawa

Ottawa: the city I fell in love with

Now, I could say that Edmonton was the city I fell in love with but that wouldn’t quite be accurate. Edmonton is like the college roommate that you have great memories with and will always be friends with but really, it doesn’t have much of a place in your life any more. Ottawa however was love at first sight. From wandering the Byward market, Gazing up at the Parliament tower or just hanging out in Little Italy, this city has captured my heart.

I wish things were going better for me here. The job market is competitive (As you can tell by my posts on and the housing situation is difficult but I’m sticking it out because whenever I imagine living some place else, I realise I would miss it here too much.

Now you’re probably asking me, what is there about the Nation’s Capital that makes me want to stay?

There’s a lot of things about this city that make it magical for me. First and foremost it’s the people. Great dynamic people MAKE a city great and the folks here are just that. Not saying that there aren’t amazing people any place else but I have thoroughly enjoyed the welcoming friendly population. I’ve made some great friends and they have made my time here even more splendid with their generosity and kindness. They also help to introduce me to more amazing people, like the local author that lives across the street from where I’m staying. How cool is that?

Next, the buildings amaze me. My inner history buff adores the architecture and layout of the older sections of the city coupled with the newer parts. A drive down Island Park Drive offers a selection of stunning homes to swoon over, especially all done up in their Christmas splendour.

The weather has been fantastic,… Okay, so I’m writing this as I stare out at the wall of snow falling from above but up until now it really has been exceptionally beautiful. Warm, not a lot of wind and there’s been sunshine!

I don’t think I could go much further in my “why I love Ottawa” post without talking about the Healthy focus of the city and it’s denizens. Every city has it’s pedestrians but Ottawa has them in spades. Walking is a healthy activity and people here truly enjoy their outdoor lives and as such are rewarded with walking paths throughout the city and cyclists are no exception with their bike lanes making it a viable option in this major city. On my first day here, a new friend was giving me a ride along the canal and I was amazed to see people walking, running, cycling, roller blading, kayaking, etc in October. I know a lot of cities offer such amenities but I have never seen them used so much as I have here. Triathlons, marathons, and walks happen year round and it’s hard to find someone that has never taken part in one.

And finally, I have found a restaurant that is lush, elegant, and has a classic style. From it’s marble tiled floor, to the vintage lamps it would be an elegant French restaurant even before you add in the fine dining menu and fabulous waitstaff. Wish to check it out yourself? The Savoy Brasserie is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Supper as well as for cocktail hour. Champagne Sunday was a tradition I had in Edmonton and it looks like I may have to start it again here in Ottawa thanks to the Savoy!

The Savoy Brasserie

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