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Wendi Stewart - Wendi with an 'eye'

Wendi lives in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, but the farm on Rainy River in Crozier will always be her home. MEADOWLARK, her debut novel released September 15, is published by NeWest Press of Edmonton. She is the mother of four daughters who did the unforgivable: they grew up.

Come sit with me a while

When I was little, I desperately wanted a house with a veranda—the kind of veranda that wrapped around the house like a giant hug, keeping everyone safe. You know, an inviting place to spend time.

I imagined sitting in a large wicker chair or in a big swing, or maybe a soft, enveloping hammock, while sipping lemonade and waving to neighbours as they strolled past.

“How are the grandkids, Janey,” I'd shout, waving my arm over my head like I'm flagging down a train.

Mother and child

Mother's Day has just passed and I now have a new self-propelled, lightweight, battery-powered lawnmower in my shed in honour of being a mother.

I can't wait to give it a go when the rain stops.

I look forward to not dragging and pushing the old Toro around, whose air filter fell off last year just in time for me to drive over it and watch the mower's blades tear it apart and spit it out the side.

Oops. Good riddance, I say.

Time to tackle all that waste

To say I find the number of those living on the street in this country, in any country, alarming and upsetting seems an obvious statement to make and somewhat trite.

I heard someone in political authority once say there is no solution to poverty; that poverty begets poverty. I think the latter part of that statement is true. How does one break from the chains of poverty when the weight of life is so very heavy, the opportunities so limited?

Creativity has healing power

I attended a meeting recently with a group of individuals who are going to create a community arts centre in Kentville, N.S., close to where I live.

I use the words “going to" because they are determined and don't want to use tentative language such as "planning to" or "hoping to.” This is a dig-in-determined plan.

They need the support of municipal government, and though it seems like an obvious community-building and community-strengthening strategy, that support never can be counted on.

It's a worthy labour of love

It is my baby's birthday today (April 26), the youngest of my brood; four daughters who are no longer babies at all but instead are full-fledged adults, living lives in which I am an accessory, no longer a necessity.

I can't pull them on to my lap and kiss away their tears when they are hurt. I can't speak up for them and be their shield when others would do them harm. I can't go along with them to interviews and proclaim their unsurpassed value, and how bloody lucky any employer would be to have them (mother bias aside).

Don't be afraid to say I don't know

I was listening to CBC Radio the other day while I was driving.

I can't remember what the program was about, due to my failing retention, but the discussion focused on thinking for ourselves. On challenging those who make authoritative statements founded on nothing but opinion; where hubris gets in the way of truth.

It's coming back to me now. Steve Sloman was discussing his book, “The Knowledge Illusion,” that focuses on the sense of some people (most people, in his estimation) who are convinced they know just about everything there is to know about everything.

Make the time to blow bubbles

I have a bucket list, of sorts.

I don't really think of the list as things I want to do before I take my last breath. That seems a bit like encouraging the dying thing; bringing it in to focus.

Most of us, after all, just pretend dying will never happen.

My list isn't a long one—just enough entries to keep me moving forward. Some of them aren't much of a challenge, like the sweater I have been knitting for 12 years that sits in the top of my closet and stares at me every night as I drift off to sleep, wagging its finger at me and calling me unkind names.

Castles in the air

I would like to live in a castle, maybe one in Ireland because I'm fairly certain Canadian castles are in short supply.

The selection of castles in Europe is extensive, I've read. Windsor Castle holds some sort of record for having been continuously lived in for the longest period of time—all the way back a 1,000 years to when William the Conqueror built it.