Oh, Canada! Celebrating the Justin Trudeau Era.

I have a lot of loves, including my cats, sushi, wine and Sherlock Holmes. But today, for #NaBloPoMo Day Six, I’m all about politics, and the incredible event that took place in Canada this week.

I’m a political junkie, and have been following US and Canadian politics for more than 50 years. I can still remember, at age six, sitting in front of our tiny black and white TV in 1960 and intently watching the entire Kennedy-Nixon debate. I haven’t looked back since.

When I was 14, in 1968, I was swept up in the tidal wave of Trudeaumania that saw Pierre Elliot Trudeau rise to power as Canada’s 15th Prime Minister. I remember going to a huge rally in Montreal, wearing a gigantic Trudeau button and screaming myself hoarse.

And then…a miracle! Suddenly four or five burly guys lined up right in front of me and linked arms. I knew then and there that HE would be walking right by me. And as Trudeau and his entourage started to pass by the security detail, I lunged over the linked arms – and grabbed his hand. I didn’t let go until he turned around AND SMILED AT ME!!

My teenage heart almost exploded, and I didn’t wash that hand for two days…

Fast forward to this week. After a long, tumultuous, intense and often bitter election campaign, another Trudeau – Pierre’s charasmatic, articulate, people-loving and selfie-taking oldest son Justin – became our 23rd Prime Minister.

After almost a decade when it felt to me as if Canada had become a darker, more fearful, more suspicious, less inclusive country, I breathed a sigh of relief and shed many tears of joy as the new PM took his oath of office.

It sounds corny, but it really feels like the dawn of a new era. Take a look at this tweet that lists all the changes that Prime Minister Trudeau has introduced:

Image 2015-11-05 at 3.01 PM


And check out his answer when he was asked why he felt it was important to ensure gender parity in his new Cabinet.

2015, indeed. I hope Pierre is smiling, wherever he is. I haven’t stopped.

On Stopping and Starting


I wasn’t prepared. But I did stop. For a whole year.

No writing except for Twitter and Facebook updates. And, frighteningly, when I look back, no photography except for spur-of-the-moment iPhone pics which caught fleeting glimpses of my life that I felt I could share.


A year ago today I left for Ottawa to be with my mother while she was in respite care, and to ease the caregiving burden that had weighed on both my sisters over the past few years. I figured I’d be there a month or so. It ended up being seven long, hard, sad months full of struggles, revelations, dramatic change and realities that continue to challenge our entire family.

The balance of the year also ended up bringing a lot of hardship, heartache and change for me back home in Vancouver, leaving me tired, listless, unmotivated and isolated, at least in my own head. Being away for so long left me with a pronounced ‘out of sight, out of mind’ feeling. A bad bug and an even worse fall had me laid up over most of Christmas and all of January. I also had to make the painful decision to leave my home of three and a half years at the end of February and move into a much smaller place that my limited finances could handle better. And then came March, with a bittersweet mix of the third anniversary of Dave’s death and my 60th birthday two days later. Quite the year, eh?

Good stuff did happen, of course. There was much laughter amid the tears and frustration. I re-connected with people I deeply care about back in Ottawa. My youngest sister and her oldest son both purchased their first homes. My youngest nephew announced his engagement. My nieces are beautiful, accomplished young women. My England family is thriving. And my friends, old and new, continued to be loving and supportive, no matter how defeated and bitchy I got.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that I’ve been stuck for a very long time. It’s time I unstuck myself. And the unsticking has begun, slowly but surely.

It started when I pulled out my camera again on a bright and sunny day two weeks ago and walked along the seawall and actually took pictures. Feel free to look at the full set, but this was a favourite from that day.

CAB_2038_2I can’t express how this short photo walk made me feel. The closest I can come to explaining it is to compare it to getting a blood transfusion. I was doing what I loved again. And it was only then that I realized how very much I missed – and needed – my photography.

And that, despite my own challenges as a legally blind person, I’m damn good. It’s time I reminded the world that this gal is talented.

I’m taking inspiration from my wonderful friend Marc Smith and his 30 Day Adventures blog he’s created and developed. He’s been dedicated, persistent, and committed to his vision, and I admire and respect that.

So, I’m taking some baby steps toward my new direction. Little by little, I’ll be where I want to be.

First, I’ll be taking the opportunity to show the world what I can do as a visually impaired photographer – and why my perspective matters. I’ll also shed light on my other talents as a communicator and advocate down the road, because everything I do is so closely entwined.

I’ve even come up with a new hashtag that I think captures what I want people to feel about the awesome things I do.

Introducing #EyeOpener. You’ll be seeing it a lot as I begin to tell my story, all over again.

I hope you enjoy the ride. I’m off to follow where my talents lead me.



On Resolutions – and Resolve

Well, it’s that time of year again. You know, when we all jot down our New Year’s resolutions for the dawning year.  And abandon so many of them within days, or weeks.

It’s not that we don’t want to stick to them, mind you. I think our hearts are in the right place. But resolutions are hard to keep. I know. I’ve broken so many over the years. Life, time, distractions, fears, sadness and yes, disinterest all get in the way. That’s where I feel I’m at this year, after many ups and downs in 2012.

I have a list of resolutions for 2013, some of which I mentioned on my Facebook account a few days ago.

“I need to intensify my job search. I’ve been fortunate to have a bit of part time work, but I need more certainty and stability in my life so I can plan for trips and the like.

I need to improve my photography skills – and that means I need to shoot more. I’ve been a bit slack. And I know I’ve still got a talent there.

I want to resurrect my sewing machine and get proper lessons on how to sew. I actually have some designs in mind for myself and I would love to extend my inner vision to real clothes.

And I need to see more people one-on-one. I want to actually get to know more about the many people I talk to online all the time. And I think it’s time more people knew me a bit better too.”

There are other things – like watching less TV, writing more, getting more exercise – lots of the usual.

I believe in each and every one of these resolutions. I know they’d all do me the world of good, emotionally, physically and mentally. What I need now is what I think is the flip side, the unbuttered side of the bread, the yin to the resolution yang.

I need resolve.

I need the strength and determination to stick to my guns. To not be distracted, or dissuaded, or intimidated into thinking I can’t do what I said I want to do. I need the determination to make real, honest-to-God changes in my life. I need to stop being lazy, apathetic, fearful, anxious and rudderless. I need to get mad at myself more, and give myself the ass-kicking I deserve.

So, when it comes right down to it, resolutions are all very well and good. But first, I need to work on me. Or all the resolutions in the world mean squat.

Right? Right.

How much work do you need to do before resolutions mean something?

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