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July 2008

Coastal Trek news bulletin!

Okay, my blogger-buddies,

The weirdest thing happened…I woke up this morning and I was shocked to discover that I was looking forward to Yoga!  What is happening to the world as I know it? 

And not only that, but Tracy fixed my sore shoulder!  Last night at my massage she did the usual, “Do you have any trouble spots?  Anything bothering you…yada…yada…”  And I answered, because I am, for the most part, a polite woman, but I never expected her to actually do anything about it.  When she got to my arm, up near my shoulder joint, she pressed in several sections in an upward motion, quite hard and I thought, hmm, that’s different.  But when I got up this morning, I was surprised to find that for the first time in a long time, I had almost full range of movement and around 90% of the pain was gone.  It’s really quite amazing.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know.  I have to go get ready for our hike now.  Shane is taking us today.  It is pouring rain, but he says, it is just a slight drizzle.  This should be interesting.  I bet that hot tub is going to feel amazing when we get back.  Bye for now.


Coastal Trek

We are having a most magnificent time.  I can’t believe this place isn’t booked to the gills.  I guess because it is new and people don’t know about it, but oh my!

The hikes here are amazingly beautiful.  I can’t believe that I’ve lived in B.C. most of my life and didn’t even know some of the places we’ve visited existed.  Every day a new hike,  that blows my socks off with the grandeur of this planet we live on.  I mean, why go all the way to the other side of the world when such heart-stoppingly gorgeous landscape is here on our doorstep?

I want to bring my family here, to eat this healthy, delicious food that Kathy and Andrea make, and take them on these walks.

It’s not just for fancy, hot-shot hiking extremists.  Seriously. 

The first two days, Mike (the guide) broke it up in sections.  A nice little hike.  A shopping excursion.  Another nice little hike and then a visit to a local stoneworker/sculptor, because I had admired the beautiful fireplace that he had made here in the Coastal Trek lodge.  Another little hike.  And we only had to do 8 kms total.  Very doable.

I mean, it was a cinch.  The hikes are tailored to the guests that are in the lodge at any particular week.  So, if there are people that want to go straight up for 8 hours straight…that can be arranged.  And then there are people like me and Dawna, ages 48, and 52.  We no longer are interested in being the fastest and the first.  We just would like to get in better shape and not have a heart-attack doing it.  And that is exactly what we are doing!

So, today, because our confidence was up from the last two days, we ended up doing 13 kms through Strathacona (I spelt that wrong) park and we even managed to hike until we were up really high and then back down again. 

There were creeks with spotted brown trout and one with a red stripe down it’s side and polka-dots.  The Alpine meadows were in full bloom, and to me, fancy gardens can’t even come close to to matching their beauty.  Natural ponds with water lilies.  Delicate little flowers, wild heather, purple and white, wild orchids, pale pink flowers with delicate petals and nodding heads, stunning vibrant ones in many colors, but everything with such a subtle touch.  Nothing heavy handed.  And that tender soft green of new growth that always seems so hopeful, and even though it’s well into July, that’s the way it was way up there, because the snow had just finished melting. 

We were hiking in first growth trees, but I never would have known it if Mike hadn’t said so, because they were one zillionth the size of trees we have seen in the last few days.  Yet they were as old, or older, just stunted by being encased in snow for most of the year.  The streams and lakes were unbelievable clear.  How I remember they used to be, when I was a girl.  And then we would be out of the meadow, who was so peaceful and serene and confident of her beauty and then there we were, trekking through shaded woods, up muddy and rocky paths with Mike regaling us with stories of days gone past and the lakes and streams got their names, and a million other things. 

And the water falls that we visited yesterday, and the rain forest the day before, with wild berries abundant on the bushes and more ferns that I have ever seen in one place at one time.

And the food here is delicious and everybody is so nice.  Truly nice.  Not just pretending to be.  I am so glad I came and I want to come here again and again, because I will only be able to see a tiny spoonful of all that there is to see. 

So, I’m really glad I came, that I didn’t get scared off.  Because, and I know this is going to sound weird, but it’s real peaceful here.  I feel nicely tired, not dog-ass tired.  See the thing is, Mike makes everything sound so exciting that I don’t even notice I’m hiking my butt off, I just want to see more, and more and more.

A lapse in judgement…

Well, my dear blogging buddies, today, as you read my posting, you will be very happy you aren’t me. 

Remember my good friend, Dawna?  You know, the one who was a guest-blogger and compared us to Lucy and Ethel?  Well…Around two months ago, we got to talking on the phone, and decided that it would be a great idea to go on a little holiday together.  We’d been missing each other’s company, what with her living on the Island and me on the Mainland.  The last time we had seen each other was way back in the Spring when I had those school visits and she blogged for me. 

Now, both of us have sort of fallen off the wagon a titch.  She with her weight (she had lost a TON but was starting to creep back up)  And me?  Well, let’s just say, that for normal people I probably still look great, but I’d just hit the 4 lbs over my full-term pregnancy weight the day we were chatting, and that’s how we (I) came up with the “great” idea.

An exercising holiday!

Well…it sounded like a good idea, but now, I am questioning my sanity. 

See, I had figured that the idea of this hiking holiday with my friend would motivate me.  That I would spend the next two months getting in such kick-ass shape that the 10-20km daily hikes would be a breeze. 

And yes, you read that right.  10 to 20 km A DAY!!!  Gadzooks, what was I thinking? 

I haven’t hit the gym.  I haven’t hit the treadmill.  I haven’t been lifting even small weights, let alone gargantuan ones. 

What have I been doing?  You might be asking yourself.

Well, what I have been doing to prepare for this “holiday” is eat everything that I am positive they will deny me.  I have, to be fair, cajoled a couple of friends to go for a few walks.  And I mean a few, like maybe 8-10 total walks in a two month period,  but we are talking about an hour’s meander through the flora and fauna of all the great parks that grace our beautiful landscape out here. An hour or two   Well, let me tell you what the Internet says about what Dawna and I are going to experience. 

A 6am wake up for a yoga class!  My longtime readers know how fond I am of yoga.  But for you new comers let me interpret.  I suck.  We will have a nutritious breakfast of what I am sure will contain nothing but laxatives, so in addition to hiking, we can spend the day working on our butt-clenching muscles as well.  Then at 8:30 a.m. they take us out in a van and drop us off in the wilderness, where we are expected to hike a mere 10-20 km of varied inclines, which we have to do, there is no whining or turning back, because the van drops us off and then doesn’t pick us up and return us to the lodge until 4:30pm at the other end of the trail! 

At which time, do we get to relax?  Hell no!  We have an exercise class with weights and what-not.  Then there is a cooking class, dinner, I will try to bandage up what I am sure will be hamburger meat feet, try to eek out a few pages on the manuscript I’m working on and then collapse into bed wondering why in the hell I am paying good money for this.

Anyway, we start our great adventure on Friday for a full seven days.  Sit back, and enjoy the smug feeling that none of you were stupid enough to sign up for this folly.  xo


I just got this email from my sister, Suzanne, and I think she wrote it way better than I can, so here it is.

“Hi Meg,

Exciting news!  Jenny emailed me last night and said that she is in day three of the Bellagio Cup IV (Phil is still in it as well.)

I looked up her stats at and she is #5 (up from #7 last night) in chips.  Blinds are $1,200 and $2,400 and she has $388,200 (buy-in was $15,400).  There were 446 entrants and they are down to 125… this could get exciting! There is $6,489,300 in prize poll money up for grabs - although it is so much more than just the money. Just to be able to compete at that level is HUGE.  As you know, it can all turn on a hand or two but to even get this far is such an honor - I am so proud of her!

I get goose bumps reading about it - she is the lone female at the top and it must be nerve racking for her… my heart starts beating hard just thinking about playing with that crowd.  You have to have nerves of steel, a face of stone, mind like a high-end processor, and a bit of lady luck on your side but I am cheering for her from afar.  It would be so great to have a female in the final table… I just love poker!

I had to share with someone - it makes me want to drop everything and jump on a plane and to make my positive energy be closer to hers… I know that sounds nutty but what a thrill if she makes it to the final table.

Let me calm down…”

And then right on the heels of that email…I got this one!


She is now #ONE in the chip lead!  It is time to go home but I am glued to my computer… I need someone to hug or something to cling to…



( Heh…heh…heh.  I just looked it up on-line and there is Jen’s picture, right at the top!  And I’m related to her.  I feel quite proud and a little bit smug.  Like I am super clever by osmosis.)

ice cream mush

We made a healthy dinner of halibut, cooked with a little tomato, garlic, olive oil, basil and fresh onion and a little pot of wild rice.  Delicious.  Nutritious.  And virtuous to boot.

After an hour or so of feeling smug, reality hit, and I had to have something sinful. 

The problem was, with Will in England, Dave on the Island and Emily over there too, I didn’t have the fridge loaded with anything that called my name. 

So…I made something up.  And it was really tasty, so here it is.

Ice Cream Mush

-Take around a clenched-fist sized piece of peanut brittle and chop it up into chunks that are around the size of chocolate chips.

- Then take a hunk of milk chocolate (I’m sure semi sweet would work as well)  And shave off around the same amount as you have of the peanut brittle.

-Then scoop out some vanilla ice cream into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the chopped peanut brittle and chocolate on top. 

-Mash together with your spoon until blended.

-Now pour some rum in the bowl and stir that in.  Just a glug or two. 


-Place back into the freezer for around 15 minutes or longer to set. 


It’s really good.  I feel quite pleased with my new creation.  Hope you like it too!

July 8th

Today is Emily’s birthday, I have an angel food cake baking in the oven.  Angel food cake always takes longer to cook than the recipe says.  It’s ten minutes past the recommended time already, but the cake is still jiggly.  I figure it will be another 10 to 15 minutes more, which will bring the grand total of cooking minutes up to 55-60 min.  The recipe said 30-35.

So, to all of you cookers out there, use your common sense when it comes to cooking.  If the recipe says one thing, but the chicken is still pouring blood, or the cake is jiggly, or the cookies are uncooked and doughy…throw that baby back in the oven for a little bit longer.  Every oven cooks differently.

Anyway, I bought some fresh organic strawberries and will cut them up to serve on top with freshly whipped cream that I’ll sweeten with a little bit of powdered sugar and a dollop of vanilla. 

David dragged himself out of bed early and caught the 8 o’clock ferry, so he should be arriving at any minute.

After the cake, we will go birthday shopping, because Emily has grown, and since I am no longer a part of her day to day, I have no idea what she wants or needs.

And then, to top it all off, dinner!  Where seafood will be enthusiastically consumed, and we will order whatever we want, and eat it, and order some more.  And we’ll toast Will, so that he will be at our birthday celebration in spirit.

And I will think about my friend in the hospital, because it’s his birthday too.  And I send him good wishes and healing thoughts and hope that there are many more birthdays to come.  And hope that he is surrounded right now, by the people closest to him and that they bring him joy and comfort and give him the best possible care.

In our prayers

Heartbroken to find out that you are in the hospital again.  Holding you in our hearts and praying for your good health and happiness.  xo

Bathroom tears

We dropped Will off at school and then Don drove me to the ferry terminal.  I found on the ride over that I was missing him already.  Don had never done a drop off at this ferry before, which I find amazing since he is supposedly the adventurous one and yet I’m the one who has been here many times. 

“Turn here,” I said.  “And then a right into here to the drop off section.”  He carefully pulled up so that the car was directly opposite the entrance doors. 
“I love you,” he said.  “Have a good time with your sister.”  It was really weird how homesick for him I was feeling.  We’ve been together for over seven years.  I was only going over to Nanaimo to see my sister for the day. 

He stayed parked by the side of the curb, blowing me kisses until I disappeared inside the building.  I went into the women’s bathroom, rather than the ticket terminal.  I was on the tail end of my period and needed frequent bathroom pit stops through out the day.

I hoisted my computer bag off of my shoulder and hung it on the hook on the back of the door, coated the seat with toilet paper, and sat down.  I wondered if he noticed that I went into the bathroom door rather than the ticket counter?  Whether he’d still be there waiting by the curb, clenching his fist over his heart, smiling out of the window, blowing me kisses, to accompany me to the booth where I would pay for my fare?

The outer door of the women’s bathroom banged open.  I could hear footsteps, a thump of something being put down, a clatter as something plastic fell to the cement floor.  And I heard something else.  Broken hearted sobbing. 

I froze.  I was in the process of wiping, but what should I do now?  She probably thought that she was alone.  If I went out would it make it worse?  Would she have to deal with embarrassment as well as bone weary hopeless sorrow? 

I finished what I was doing and then waited.  After a few minutes the explosion of sobs seemed to calm slightly.  There was movement noise as if she was pulling it together, busying herself.  I waited a few more seconds and when it seemed relatively calm, I stood, swept the toilet paper on the seat into the bowl with my foot, buttoned my jeans, zipped.  It was one of those automated flushing toilets so it flushed itself.  I took my computer bag off the hook and slung it over my shoulder and exited. 

My plan was to not look over, wash my hands and exit, acting like I hadn’t heard, inadvertently witnessed, her grief. 

I washed, all but my middle finger on my right hand, as I had five minutes earlier applied a Band-Aid there to protect a hangnail.  I was moving quickly, keeping my head facing forward, but she was trying to fill a Gatorade bottle with water and the machinations of the sink proved to be too much for her to handle.  When she would get the bottle under the tap, the automated sink would turn off, and when she took it away the swipe of her fingers holding the bottle would activate the faucet again. 

She hit the faucet with her palm, fingers curled slightly under like the effort of straightening them was more than her body could do, a cry escaping from her throat.

“Here.  See.” I reached over, still not looking up, and put my fingers in front of the sensor.  “It needs.”  I wasn’t sure what I was saying really.  She managed to get her shaking hands to hold the Gatorade bottle under the streams of water.  Her hands were street hands.  Tanned, hardened and calloused, the nails thicker than normal nails, and yellowed, and broken with dirt underneath.  The water mingling with the leftover blue of the Gatorade, then she pulled the bottle away.

“Is that enough?” I asked.  Her head jerked up to look at me.  Lost.  Dark shadows under hollowed out, frightened eyes.  What now?  They seemed to shout at me.  Drowning eyes.  She gestured, tipped her head to her hair covered her face again.  I started to go, but then she started to cry again.  I was almost around the bend of the bathroom to the exit, but there was such desperate aloneness and I found myself with my arms around her, holding her, my head resting on her freshly washed hair soft against my cheek, sweet smelling.  I can’t find the words, just soothing noises coming out of my heart like the calming sounds I used with my children were small and heartbroken about one thing or another.  It was that kind of feeling.  And she cried and she cried and then after awhile she straightened and I did too, neither of us looking at each other.  She turned back to her bag of things and I went outside.  Glanced over at the curb incase Don was still there waiting to catch one last wave and blown kiss.  But where the car had been was empty.  Just the street sign and the charcoal colored garbage can.  I could feel her around ten yards behind me.  I bought my ticket and went inside. 

The waiting room at this ferry terminal is quite beautiful as far as ferry terminals go.  It is a bank of windows opening out to the marina filled with vacation boats, the ferry dock, the expanse stretches out to include Bowen Island, and huge craggy tree covered cliffs.  Breathtakingly beautiful.  I wait around fifteen minutes before I glance around at the other people here, but she isn’t one of them.  Maybe she was going on another ferry.  Maybe she decided not to travel.  Her clothes were clean.  Jeans fitted, the black vinyl jacket with the stainless steel square zipper up the front.  Were they donated clothes?  Had she just been released from a halfway house and was terrified.  Or did she come from regular and got involved in drugs and lost her way.  Had gone to family, was allowed to get clean clothes, a fistful of money, but nothing else.  Not allowed to stay.

I am on the ferry now.  Becky will be jumping up and down on the other side with her arm and head squeezed out from behind the barricade that blocks people from going into the restricted area, to wave and smile at me.  She always does this and people exchange looks, but I don’t care.  I like it.  It makes me feel loved. 

We will talk and eat yummy food and talk some more.  She will drive fast and jerky and I’ll pretend to be calm.  But I will be double-checking whenever she makes a lane change, just in case. 
I am going to see my sister to have a nice cozy sisterly day, but the woman in the bathroom is with me too.  A reminder of what could have been, if either one of us had taken a different road, a different path, to deal with the challenges that life threw our way.

Okay, I can’t take it anymore!

This whole, not writing until September thing, is not going to work.  I miss blogging way too much.  What I am going to do is try to cut back on my addiction.  Blog once a week over the summer.  That way, I will still have tons of time for my manuscript, but I won’t loose touch with you guys completely. 

Not only that, I felt really bad.  I was hoping that after I wrote my “taking a break for the summer” blog that you guys would say to yourselves, “Okay.  Meg’s taking a break.  I’ll write September 3rd down in my calendar and come back then.”  But you guys are still coming.  What you are looking at, I don’t know, but I am touched by your loyalty.

So, this is the deal.  I will blog once a week.  Unless something really exciting happens and then you’ll get a double dose. 

Now here is an abbreviated version of the last couple weeks away:

At the airport the Great Canadian Books store had my book, Porcupine featured right over the cashier!  When I saw that they did that, I danced around a bit in the hall and then Don and I went for some Japanese food next door. 

My new agent, Laura Langlie is so wonderful I can’t even believe the things she does.  I feel very, very lucky.  And if I had been blogging regularly I would have given you the blow by blow of the last few weeks, but now there are too many to even list.  I’d be here all day. 

Don and I went to a writing workshop.  We were meeting up with a bunch of friends.  There was/still is a huge fire.  We were around 15 minutes from the place when we ran into a road block and the police informed us that we would have to go around.  A round-about route that added another 5 hours of driving to our trip.  Not a welcome addition, since we had left our house in Vancouver at 3:30 AM.  And had been traveling for ten hours already.  We finally got there.  The sky dark with smoke, the sun blood red through the haze.  It was not so bad at the beginning but in the next few days it got harder to breath, grey ash falling covering everything.  Me wishing I had brought a different colour of sweater, because by the time we walked down the hill to where the workshop was, the shoulders of my black sweater were covered with the greyish white flakes and it reminded me of my Step-father and me having to scratch his head.  There was a skunk residing under the floor boards of the room they assigned us too, and it was extremely smelly and I got pro-active and somehow cajoled them to give us another room.

We decided to leave the place where the writing workshop was being held, because a couple of the people in the workshop had breathing issues, and lo-and-behold a miracle happened and we found a new place a couple hours down the coast that had just the right amount of spare rooms and we moved the whole thing there.  And the one lonely writer who was unable to make the move…showed up on the last day and wrote a really wonderful kick-ass piece!  It was a crazy, chaotic, perfect workshop and everyone wrote beautifully.  Inspiring on many levels.

Then we went to San Francisco to Book Passage to cheer our friend, Ken, with his panel presentation at the Mystery Writers Conference.  He was great!  A real rock star and we treated him as such.  (You r________s you.)  And since we were there Don and I went to a bunch of the talks and even though I don’t write mysteries, we learned a lot. 

AND…James Fant, (our friend and part of Don and Ken’s writing group) GOT AN AGENT!!!!!  Whooheee!  A really good one.  Amy Rennert.  She was on several of the panels and seemed really nice and down to earth and super smart.  So congratulations to both of you!

And Emily is coming home on July 5th and I am over the moon!

And I am going to see the fantabulous Rosie O’Donnell in the Cyndi Lauper True Colours Tour, this afternoon and my friend Samantha (of Bolen Books fame) is coming over on the little sea-hopper plane, and we are going to dance and sing and get burnt in the sun and let me tell you this.  These two girls are GOING to have fun!

And the first day after I did my “I’m going to take a break” blog, this thing happened at the ferry terminal and I wanted to blog it, but I was trying to ween myself, so I wrote it on my desktop instead, but now I am blogging, so I will post it right after this. 

Now, remember everyone.  I am only going to blog once a week during the summer…At least that is what I am telling myself.  Let’s see if I can do it.