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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. http://wendistewart.writersresidence.com

Free to any home

I have to wonder about pets and the soundness of owning said creatures. Where do I begin in my account of the state of my sanity that is worn frighteningly thin?

Let’s begin with Stinky.

Stinky is a cat. He watches the birds out the front window while he dreams of safaris and hunting excursions. He wears a bell around his neck, and he may or may not be aware that this piece of equipment is a preemptive strike to protect our songbirds (he isn’t all that bright).

He also likes to get tangled up in the patio door curtains for his own entertainment.

Join the voice that says ‘enough’

I’ve never called myself a feminist, though I’m certainly fierce about the rights of women and I cringe with outrage, disgust, and horror at the plight and reality for many women on this planet.

I have taken for granted the dedicated efforts of those women who brought about change in North America, in my lifetime and before, and I have reaped the benefits of that work without truly acknowledging their contributions, without being part of the conversation, and for that I feel regret.

The magic of yellow rain boots

I saw yellow rain boots on a young woman the other day; yellow rain boots on a snowy, cold March day.

Yellow rain boots—the only bit of colour in the dull, dreary days of pre-spring when our whole bodies seem to be aching for sunshine and grass under our feet and ponies shedding their heavy winter coats.

Yellow rain boots call to the sun to come and play. Don’t be shy, the yellow rain boots say. Come out, come out.

Yellow rain boots. Do you own a pair? Oh, how I wish I did. Yellow rain boots are on my list of coveted possessions.

How I miss those caterpillars

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”

Buckminster Fuller said that. What a great name. Buckminster.

He, if you don’t know or remember, was an American architect who created the geodesic dome design. He was a prolific writer, designer, inventor. In a nutshell, he did it all.

But he also had some serious ups and downs, losing a child to complications from polio and spinal meningitis, so the sentence that opens this column makes perfect sense if you imagine Mr. Fuller saying it.

Hurry hard!

I love watching curling on television. Always have, so you can’t blame it on my age.

My daughters groan when I tune in to curling and they roll their eyes as if I’ve just made the lamest confession of all time; as if I showed up at their workplace with rollers in my hair.

They used to collect snails and earthworms, and I didn’t groan about that; never complained when I had to empty their pockets before doing laundry (okay, I might have complained but only with moderate loudness).

Take in an Al Simmons show

Are you feeling winter-weary? If so, then you need your inner child recharged and I can’t think of a better way to breathe life into your sagging soul than attending an Al Simmons concert.

If you are as poorly-informed as me, then undoubtedly you will pull your eyebrows together and utter, with a most perplexed voice, “Who?”

Al Simmons. Every Canadian should know who Al Simmons is; he should top the list of Canadians who make life better.

I pack along my oddities

I went to a fiction-writing workshop this past week. I sometimes wonder why I go.

It’s not as though I think the workshop leader will say something profound, and I’ll leap out of my chair with my arms thrown over my head and shout, “Oh, if only I had known.”

But I like to go; like to sit in a room that is oozing with hope, with what ifs.

The thing about going to a workshop, or really any gathering of strangers, is I bring along with me all my eccentric-ness. I carefully pack all my oddities in with my pens and pencils and fresh paper.

‘Canada Reads’ worth watching

Did you tune in to “Canada Reads” the week of Feb. 11-14? If not, I wish you had.

It was the celebration of Canadian literature in a way unparalleled by the Giller or the Governor General’s Award, or other Canadian literary awards. In the format of reality programming, “Canada Reads” pitted five Canadian novels against each other—each representing a region of Canada.

Snowstorms can be comforting

There’s something deliciously comforting about a snowstorm—the feeling you get when you are tucked inside your house safe and warm while the road and weather reports say roads closed, businesses closed, schools closed, all events cancelled.

The feeling when the cupboards are reasonably stocked with staples like potato chips and cookies (I mean, salad fixings and lots of vegetables) and when the generator is sitting ready just in case.

It’s all about playing games

When I was a kid, my family played board games, though not often. Mostly we played outside—building forts in trees and in the hay, and we spent a great deal of time catching frogs.

There were a few marathons of “Monopoly,” where I never seemed to be much of a land baron, getting stuck with the likes of Baltic Avenue, earning a pittance in rent, and someone always lost interest, wandering off before the game was won.