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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.

Marking another year without him

With Father’s Day having just passed, I’m sometimes annoyed by these Hallmark-type occasions that have us pulling out our wallets because the calendar says we should for planning outings in the name of a certain day.

Other times I like that we are reminded to think of others; to remember that one day is set aside to pause and honour.

I, however, never need a reminder to remember my father. Not a single day goes by without some thought of him, some memory, a longing, a wish that he was still here.

Lacking indoor gardening gene

I’ve been known as a plant-killer—a reputation that has spanned a good many years and one that is fairly well-earned.

A shortcoming, if you prefer, and one that I share with my mother.

Her plants always looked a tad beaten, neglected, misfortunate. Her life was busy; perhaps I will use that excuse—I mean reason.

As a result of my inability to remember to water my houseplants, I quit acquiring them. But still I admire plants. I imagine green life up on my shelves and hanging down from my cupboard tops, waving at me in a friendly manner.

Lime green socks my top favourite things

It’s Sunday morning when I am writing my column.

It’s early. No one else is awake—not even the puppy. It’s quiet and the sun is delicious, but not hot. The air has a crispness to it and it makes me glad because I know it is going to warm up.

I started thinking about all the things I like as I looked over the backyard where the grass is all green and freshly-mowed, and the pony came to the fence and whinnied at me; wanting his breakfast, wanting attention, just wanting.

The glory of the road trip

I recently did a road trip with Laurie (Daughter #3) from Owen Sound, Ont. to Wolfville, N.S., covering the 2,000-plus kilometres in two days.

Although the marathon of driving was a bit tedious, sitting in that small space with my daughter took my heart and gave it a complete overhaul. I kept looking over at her and wondered if I was dreaming.

I see the whole world at Laurie’s feet—ready for her to discover. She is intelligent and talented, has finished her education in a tough male-dominated field. She survived when she wasn’t sure she would, but I knew it would be so.

Time to re-write rulebook on naps

To nap is to sleep lightly, especially during the day. I looked up the definition just to be sure.

Although a nap sounds like a lovely treat, I only nap when I no longer can walk; when I am almost falling down with fatigue.

I find “nap entry,” like re-entry into the atmosphere when on a space mission, problematic. Why is that? I’ll tell you. The reason I cannot nap is because of guilt; that dreadful quality of human nature, or more specifically female human nature.

A perfect birthday gift for me

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is my favourite book of all times. Although a few others have come close, none move me the way Harper Lee’s writing does.

I carry the novel around with me like a Bible—a source of inspiration and comfort and hope. I often have it in my purse, certainly in my writing bag, and sometimes sitting on my bedside table, where I can see it when I waken and just before I drift off to sleep.

The art of obedience training

Obedience is defined as compliance with the wishes of another; an acknowledgement of authority.

What a grand idea. I would like to be the authority and would be most pleased to have “Gracie,” canine member of my family, to be compliant.

How would I achieve such status? Take one Miss Gracie, the growing floor-peeing Bernese wonder dog, to obedience classes, where she undoubtedly will learn compliance and acknowledge my authority as alpha dog.