Posts Tagged ‘Writer Dad’

There it is again.
During a call home, my husband let me know that he had mentioned (yet again) to someone that they should read my blog. My Paul has to be my biggest fan. He is encouraging, he is proud and (sometimes to my great discomfort) he is a totally unbiased, harsh editor. But he often recommends my musings to people.

This is the part that snapped my head back a bit…
“I told her you were usually funnier, but …”
Excuse me? Was he apologizing for me? Yes, it was an innocent comment not meant with any kind of malice. However, the only thing that caused him to narrowly miss being locked out when he got home and having to deal with the wrath of “M” when he finally got in was that it wasn’t the first time I had heard it. In fact, truth be told, I myself recently wrote a comment to someone that said they might enjoy some of my previous posts more. (The nerve of me!)

Upon further review I have to admit, I have had a pretty sobering and somber year of blogging. Understandably so, as I had a pretty sobering and somber year. Let’s see, there was death, disease, job loss, and let’s not forgot moving far enough away that homesickness is now my best friend. But enough is enough. When people start making excuses for you not being amusing any more there is an indication that some witty repartee is in order. It is definitely time to lighten up.

I decided to search for some inspiration, where else but the internet. It has been a while since I have actively searched out new blogs to read. There are several that I follow and read faithfully. One of my first is still one of my favourites. Writer Dad  by Sean Platt (and now his wife Cindy posts as well). When I first read “Wrapping the Morning Glories”  it effected me so much that I knew I would be reading this man’s work in a big way for the rest of my life. He did not disappoint. He has gone on to write several books in a very wide range, including Children’s books — Syllable Soup (which I read even though I don’t have kids), Four Seasons, an intricately woven novel of how people effect each other, A horror novel, Available Darkness, (which I devoured) and a thriller serial series, Yesterday’s Gone (which I can never get enough of). Both of these were written with his writing partner, David Wright. Sean has also written “how to” books such as, Writing Online, and 100 Blog Post Ideas That Work. This guy can make me laugh, cry and want to sleep with the light on. How versatile is that? Yeah, I’m his number 1 fan, but not in a creepy, Kathy Bates/Misery kind of way.

I got lost. That’s right, I got lost in the internet. I have spent countless hours searching out new blogs, reading new blogs and loving new blogs! I made a point of reading at least two posts from each blog I found to give them a fair chance. Then there were the ones I couldn’t stop reading. The ones that I felt compelled to read post after post because … well, I just couldn’t stop. Here are a few:
Verena Fischer loves to Tango. In fact she has a blog about just that, Te quiero tango!  However, it is her other blog that I found through this one that has me captivated. Experiments In Experience (one day at a time). With Experiments in Experience Verena has made a commitment to take photos every day and share one of them on this blog. She is a gifted photographer who is able to make every day scenes into art, and the words she chooses to share only enhance the image. I love seeing her surroundings through her eyes … every day.

Lesley Carter is the Queen of Adventure and has the blog to prove it! Lesley Carter – Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences  has me holding my breath and my heart at the same time as I read each exciting adventure one after another. Whether it is bungee jumping, rock climbing, caving, white water rafting , paragliding, swimming with beluga whales or sky diving, Lesley takes you along for the ride as she tells her tales with all the shock and awe she experiences. All accompanied by the most stunning photographs. I have been living vicariously through her since I discovered her blog…well, maybe not the part where she flew through the air on a trapeze in her wedding gown.

Java Girl says she blogs about random things in her daily life or anything that catches her eye at the moment. What caught my eye were the things she found interesting enough to make it to her blog, Java Girl’s Life  She hooked me in with Race You To The Bottom Of the Pool  (seriously, stop reading right now and check out the shots of this place … just don’t forget to come back). She kept me fascinated with her Magical Little Hotel in Chile and had me browsing through her archives with Some Cool Sand Sculptures  and Jason Taylor’s Underwater Sculptures . She is clever, witty, charming, emotional and really hard to stop reading.

Linda Jeffers Photography Blog struck a personal note with her stunning post A Photo Shoot of Women Experiencing Hair Loss As A Result Of Chemotherapy. Been there done that and wish someone had thought of this sooner.

Perhaps my favourite new blog is that of  Otto von Münchow. I got caught up on one of his websites (both are worth having a look at,  Otto von Münchow & Blue Hour Photo Workshops) checking out his portfolio when I stumbled onto his blog, Munchow’s Creative Photo Blog. His visuals are stunningly striking and quite frankly often take my breath away. However, the accompanying story with the insight into the photographs is gripping.

I know that is more than a few, but I guarantee each and every one is worth your checking them out. Hopefully they can inspire you the way they have inspired me. I would love to know what you think of them.
Oh, and I promise to lighten up a little.

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Lake Scugog-A "backyard" in Nestleton,ON

Lake Scugog-A “backyard” in Nestleton,ON

It’s that time of year when many of us spend more time outdoors than in. There are back yard parties, barbecues and get togethers…you get the idea. In some cases people literally move outdoors. You may visit someone and never see the inside of their house. Personally, I believe we learn a lot more about our friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances by spending time in their back yards rather than in their homes.

Growing up in the Niagara Peninsula, I was surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the city’s “backyard”. Of course part of it ― some might say the best of it ― was the natural wonder of the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Niagara River. The rest of it, however, was lovingly and painstakingly cared for by the Niagara Parks Commission. I understand the “painstakingly” part, because we had “show gardens”, in our own backyard which required a lot of upkeep and work that usually fell to the younger members of the family. Many’s the weekend I remember spending on my hands and knees, weeding the perfectly laid out and intricate floral patterns. To this day I hate gardening! But I didn’t mind being able to walk outside and pick the fresh peaches, cherries and plums that grew from the trees surrounded by the well-weeded flowerbeds. Early in my adult life, when I took on gardening again, I bought a ton of flower seeds. Determined to not create any form of symmetry, I carefully ripped the top off each package and put them in a big mixing bowl, then stirred vigorously. There was no way of knowing what I had planted where. It was always a surprise when something popped out of the ground and bloomed. Of course there were times when we weren’t sure if it was a flower or a weed … and I liked it that way! Ok, it wasn’t one of my better ideas.

Without mentioning any names, here are a few of the backyards I have experienced that gave me a look into the people that own them.

One of the most adventurous backyards I spend time in is decorated like a Tiki Hut. When you walk out onto the deck, which takes up most of the space, you are surrounded by tiki torches. You can amble up to the bamboo bar with its thatched roof and order any number of exotic beverages, or just play with all the shells covering the bar. In the evening the fire pits glow and the coconuts flow. When I leave, I always find it jarring to realize I wasn’t in the tropics.

On my first visit to one friend’s home in Mississauga I followed all the twists and turns into suburbia and pulled into the driveway of a lovely home, not unlike many lovely homes I have been to. Not too big, not too small. He answered the door, invited us in and casually said, “It’s such a nice day, lets go into the back yard. We could go for a walk if you like”. A walk? In the backyard? Ah, yes. His “back yard” … the majestic Bruce Trail. The Bruce Trail, with the trees so tall you can’t see the tops, is the oldest and longest continuous footpath in Canada. It runs along the Niagara Escarpment (an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) from Niagara to Tobermory, spanning more than 885 km of main trail and 400 km of side trails. Next time I bring my hiking boots!

Some people have water in their backyards. I have spent many summer days in the backyards of people who have pools. These yards are usually immaculate with pristine water in the pool. But, I spent this past weekend in Nestleton, ON. teaching someone the basics of twitter, linkedin and facebook. While fervently bent over the computer I could look out on her backyard. It was calling me. Lake Scuggog. Her backyard was Lake Scuggog! I just wanted to run to the end of the dock and jump in the boat and cruise!

One couple I know has a very distinct back yard. It is large and well kept and backs onto a creek. Near the creek end, attached to some trees are two identical hammocks. They like to lie beside the babbling creek and read, together. I think this is lovely and it tells me a great deal of the nature of the solid relationship this couple has. What truly makes this yard unique, however, is that smack in the middle of it stands a great, huge, full size, anchored in cement, ham radio tower. The husband is a ham radio operator and enthusiast. A “by the book” kind of guy, all the proper permissions from all the proper authorities were in place before this mighty tower took ground. The telling tale of this couple, though, was his wife’s reaction. With sheer pleasure on her face she simply said, “It’s his hobby and he enjoys it so much!”

My favourite backyard story is from a man I never met. He is the only person I will name here. Sean Platt, also known as WriterDad wrote a blog called “Wrapping the Morning Glories” that actually made me weep. It reminded me of the childhood gardens I didn’t fully appreciate at the time, and of my own personal childhood “Narnia”.

As for me and my backyard…I live in a condo. My backyard is a balcony that is half taken over by a gas barbecue. In one tiny corner is my chair where I sit contentedly every morning with a coffee and a book. My feet hang over the balcony as I greedily soak up the morning sun which moves on by 9:00 am. It may not be the “Narnia” of my childhood but it is my little piece of paradise.

So…what’s in your back yard?


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