Monday, December 3, 2012

Camping in September

 Simon and Rebekah went back-country camping in Waiparous. These are some of the pictures.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

When I was 23, God it seems like forever ago, my mom helped me get a job at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. It was in the linen department and part of my job was to hand out uniforms to all the various employees who worked throughout the hospital. Each person was assigned a number and their uniforms were hanging in chronological order. Sometimes they only had one uniform hanging there and sometimes they had seven. My job was to put them away when they came from the laundry facility and to hand them out to people as they came to work. It was fun and I got to meet quite a few people. We were situated in the basement and often people would come by just to talk to us.

One day this guy came to get his uniform. He worked in the kitchen and wore all white with a blue head cap to cover his hair. He was nice, chatty and always smiling, and I thought to myself, "He's kind of cute even with that blue hat." When he left, I looked in my box of cards to see just who he was. I knew his uniform number, 217, it was easy to find his name. I found it and kind of cringed, Simon Twaddle, what a strange name, and never thought any more of it.

The days went by and Simon would come to get his uniform every few days. We would talk and laugh and I started to look forward to seeing him. We both smoked at the time and Simon would come and bum smokes off of me, which I gave willingly. He always paid me back and I was impressed that he always brought me back my brand. His dad worked at the hospital as a painter and I often talked to him about hockey and learned that Simon had a son named Dennis and still lived at home. I had noticed that he wore a ring on his finger and was okay that we would just be friends. Then one day he asked me out. Just coffee, he said, nothing more. I thought to myself, "How can he ask me out? He has a ring and a son. Of all the nerve.", and I said no. A few weeks later he asked me again and again I said no.

I eventually learned from his dad that Simon was not married and that the ring he wore belonged to his grandfather who had recently passed away. I was relieved but still said no when he asked me to go out a third and fourth time. At 23 I was really shy and had not dated since high school. I really liked Simon and was too nervous to actually go out with him. What if I made a fool of myself and he never wanted to talk to me again? I didn't think I could handle that. By then we were good friends and I enjoyed talking to him.

Then, one day, I had a safety pass. I was a huge sport's fan and had tickets to the Calgary Stampeders' football game. By chance there was an extra ticket and I decided to ask Simon if he wanted to go. He said yes but would have to meet me there. What I didn't tell him was that I wouldn't be alone; my four nieces and nephews were going along with my brother-in-law. It felt safe to me. I would be able to go out with Simon but still have family support around me. Simon didn't seem to mind and we had fun. He left the game early and said he'd call me the next day. He didn't and I was devastated.

Two days later, he called. I was excited. He asked me out and we went on a real date with two of his friends, payback time. We went to a club, my biggest nightmare, and he tried to get me on the dance floor. He didn't but we still had fun. From that day on we went out more and more and, eventually, became inseparable.

One day, I remember it like it was yesterday, we had coffee in a doughnut shop. As we were leaving and walking across the road a car came. Simon quickly put his arm around my waist and pulled me close to him. I knew then, at that tiny gesture, that I would be with this man forever. I felt at home in that embrace and I never wanted to leave. On September 26, 1992, Simon and I got married and I became Mrs. Twaddle. That was twenty years ago today and the man I loved then is the same man I love now. Nothing has changed. We've been through everything together, children, teenagers, death and tragedy. Does he still give me butterflies when he walks in the room? Yes! He is my best friend, my older brother, my shoulder to cry on, my lover, my old faithful. He is everything I'm not and everything I am. We fit together and I don't think we could every be pulled apart.

I love you Simon. Happy Anniversary!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My summer is over and it's time to focus on the fall. I haven't been doing too much lately and got stuck in the slow deep ruts of hot days and warm nights. I didn't plant a garden this year and found the prices of the BC fruit at the Farmer's Market too high to do any canning. Besides, my oven is broken and I don't really feel like baking apple pies on the BBQ. Both of my daughter's laptops broke down and, while I'm proud that my youngest made it through three months of no youtube, I have counted my pennies and replaced hers and will be purchasing one for my middle child soon. For now, she and my husband must fight over our desktop pc. If it wasn't for the teachers assigning every bit of homework on their home computers, I might consider a pack of pens and a scribbler as sufficient back to school necessities. I wonder how I ever got through school without any computers at all. Ah, yes, I remember-Encyclopedia Britannica.

Let's see what else have I been doing. Ahh, watching Big Brother three times a week-Ian won and, while I'm happy for him, I liked Dan better. Writing query letter after query letter and getting rejected again and again-publishing on Smashwords is looking pretty good again. I keep reading articles about how ebooks are growing in popularity and am seriously considering going back that way. All I really want to do is write and trying to research and query agents is really time consuming and depressing. I might just write and publish, write and publish. If people read, ok if they don't, ok. I camped a bit and cleaned a bit-the youngest changed rooms and furniture. I did a lot of nothing and now the kids are back at school and I can settle in at my computer and write and update my blog and check my Facebook and Twitter. This is fall and I can settle in my chair and wrap it around me, get a cup of hot coffee and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The dog days of August are upon us and my summer is slowly coming to an end. It's been a pretty good summer for me. I went camping, totally ignored my garden (I guess I'll be visiting the Farmer's Market in September to buy my fruit and vegetables for canning and freezing), took my girls to doctor's appointments and dentist appointments (that is if I could get them out of bed), took the dogs to the river like every day (they're really starting to smell and I'll be bathing them at least twice a week come fall), watched movies, downloaded season 8 volume 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on my Kobo (it's not the same as holding the comic in my hand so I'll have to visit Chapters), and, of course, I watched the Olympics. Is it just me or did anyone else really, really hope that Harry Potter would suddenly appear on his Firebolt, point his wand and yell, "Incendio!" to light the cauldron. I think that would have been awesome. Our Canadian athletes didn't live up to their potential according to the experts but I don't think our experts ever live up to theirs so I guess they're even. Was I disappointed that Alexander Despatie crashed in the pool? No, I was amazed he even went back on the diving board after hitting his head and winding up in the hospital. I can't even look over the edge of the diving board let alone jump and twist and turn and land in water without making a splash. Besides, he's won so many medals for Canada before, he's got nothing to be ashamed of. I guess I could get all angry about our 4x100 relay team being disqualified but that's the rule. If we came fourth and the third place team got disqualifed for the same reason and we were given the bronze by default, we'd be so happy. Whatever, we came third and stepped on the line. It'll be okay. Our soccer team got some iffy calls but, hey, we won a bronze medal. We weren't even close to that before. I enjoyed watching Rosie Maclennan win her gold medal and wondered why our only gold medal athlete didn't get to carry the flag in the closing ceremony. I know we have this hockey minded mentality when it comes to sports and the women's soccer team ignited that but, come on, we only had one gold medal. Oh well. I think what I'll remember the most about the London Olympics is the 400m semi-finals in which double amputee Oscar Pistorius came last and evental gold medal winner Kirani James won. James took quick congratulations from the other athletes as he made his way over to Oscar. You could see the admiration in his face as he asked the South African athlete to trade name tags with him. You could see that, even though he was the world's best at 400 meters, Oscar was the world's best at never giving up and that is what the Olympics should be teaching us.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Fun

Sorry I haven't written in my blog for so long. I've been busy with summer stuff like camping, cleaning, writing, olympics, etc. I've posted some pictures of what I've been doing. I hope everyone enjoys them and I'll try to write more often.
Willowrock Campground near Seebe, AB

Kananaskis River
Rocky Mountains from the Willowrock campground
Stairs leading down to the river
Kananaskis River
Kananaskis River

Sheba saved a rock
Pixie looking rather angry that we dunked her in the river to cool off
Simon and Rebekah go white water rafting on the Kananaskis River

Alberta wild roses

Peeking through the trees at the Elbow River

Rebekah and Kayla chillin' on the other side of the Elbow River
Sheba saving another rock
Kayla and Simon taking Pixie riverboarding on the Elbow River
Pixie heading down the Elbow River
Pixie riverboarding
A group of butterflies on the shore of the river
Simon teaching Sheba how to fix his Jeep
Simon and Sheba working on the Jeep
Sunrise from my living room window

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Made It To The Finals!

I entered the 2012 Global ebook Awards to gain some publicity for my book and, knowing that there would be over 200 judges, Death's Promise would get read by a variety of people. I never expected that I would actually make it to the finals but that's what's happened! Yestereday, I checked my email and learned that the list of finalists would be on the site so off I went to check my status. There, under the category of Speculative Fiction-Contemporary Fantasy (set after 1940) sits my book. You know what that means? Someone acutally read it and liked it! Yay! I don't care if I win, well maybe just a little, but it sure feels good to be a finalist. Thanks to the judges for voting for me.

The awards ceremonies will be in Santa Barbara CA next month. It sounds exciting with Marilu Henner being a guest speaker, hosted by Bill Frank and Jim Cox, publisher of the Midwest Book Review, getting a life time achievement award. Check in later to find out what happens.

Friday, June 22, 2012

For My Dad


by Cheryl Twaddle

The sun is shining in the sky

The sky is still and blue

I can’t believe its been so long

Since I could talk to you.

Your voice that used to scare me

Gave me strength in later years

And now that it is silent

I feel the welling of my tears.

I used to hold your hand so strong

When I was afraid of life

You took me in your giant arms

And made me feel alright.

I can’t believe I will no longer gaze

Upon your clear blue eyes

The world would seem far easier

When you could ease my cries.

But now you are no longer here

And I feel heavy-hearted

So, now, Dad I remember you

On this the day you parted.

I will thank you for all you gave to me

Your wisdom and your love

And hope that you will look in on me

Once or twice from high above.

In loving memory of my Dad, Nelson Bernard

July 25, 1940-June 22, 2010

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

My Dad; let me think. When I was a little girl, my Dad was Superman. He was larger than life, commander of all who came in his presence, ready to put you on the straight and narrow even if he wasn't and I swear he could melt your defiant self esteem with one look from his steel blue eyes. He grew up in Coleman, a tough coal mining town set in the Rocky Mountains of southern Alberta. His mother was from Scotland and his brother was ten years older, too old to hang around with yet old enough to be worshipped. His father left them when my Dad was only four; leaving my grandma a single mother in an age when it was not acceptable. Both churches abandoned her. My Dad spent his days chasing cougars and hunting grizzly bears. He spent a year in bed from a bout with rheumatic fever and returned to school a little overweight and the subject of bullying beyond belief, yes this went on even in the 50's. He learned to box and drink and mixed the two with anger and resentment and became one badass guy no one wanted to mess with. He played drums and sang, had a tryout with the Stampeders football team in Calgary and lived a life of the stereo-typical greaser; leather jacket, slicked back hair, cigarette tucked behind the ear. Yes, this was my Dad, the nerd that became the cool guy. The lonely, hurt little boy that became the lonely, angry man.

He joined the Airforce, met my Mom and had a family, never really knowing what he was doing. He tried hard but always his lack of self love reached out, out of control and encompassing everything around him. There were times during my teenage years when I hated my Dad so much. I wanted to be anywhere else in the world rather than in the same room with him. I never saw the scared little boy nor did I have the ability to help him. But there were times in his cloud filled life that he said things that made sense to me and I tucked them away in my heart to call on later. I remember he told me once that I was like a swimmer in the huge ocean of life and it was his job to tell me when there were sharks in the water and help me swim away from them. Now that I have kids of my own, this is my rule for their teenage years; I can't drive the boat but I can be thier lookout and hopefully they listen to me.

In 1992, one month before I got married, my Dad had an accident. We will never know what happened but I suspect a car hit him. He wound up in the hospital in a coma, his brain swelling and close to death. When he woke up, he was a different man. He didn't know what year it was, or where he was or even who we all were. He had a severe brain injury and had to learn how to walk, and eat, and drink like a baby having to develope all his skills once more. My Mom stayed by his side, my oldest sister took on the task of caring for both of them and I got married and started a family of my own. During the next 18 years the little boy that my Dad was never able to be, came out. He was always happy now, he wondered at everything from the airplane flying overhead to my daughter fitting in a puzzle piece. He made a point of saying good morning to everyone and smiling a smile that let you know everything was going to be okay. He had no prejudices, no hatred, no idea what self esteem was. He was alive and full of wonder and joy; every breath he took was a gift from himself. I learned more about my Dad in those 18 years than I ever had before. His soul had become pure and I bathed in its glow and I became a better person. I finally knew the love inside of him and was grateful he no longer hid it. This is the person he was always meant to be.

In 2010 my Dad, now with dimentia, lost a brief battle with cancer and on June 22 left this world to go to another. I remember the last time I saw him, he lay in the hospital bed and I held his hand. He wanted to speak to me so I leaned down to look in his steel blue eyes.

"You know I've loved you for so long," he said and I smiled and said, "Me too."

My Mom phoned me in the morning to let me know that he had passed and I had to hurry to  pack up to drive the 200 kilometers to Edmonton. On my way to the store to grab some last minute things a new song came over the radio and tears came to my eyes as I listened to VV Brown sing 'Sharks in the Water'.

My Dad was a very talented man who could draw beautifully and write with passion and wisdom. Below is a poem that he wrote many years ago. As my Father's Day gift to him I wanted to share it. Back then it was the only way he could express his love of this world.


by Nelson Bernard

Right now I go on bended knee

So I can speak to thee

I’ve heard the ocean roar

Kiddies footsteps on the floor

I’ve heard the raindrops in the spring

Heard the itty bitty birdies sing

Heard the hum of the busy little bees

Heard the wind rustling in the trees

I’ve heard the warble of a hidden grouse

Interrupted by the sigh of a tired old house

For all these melodies that are so dear

Thank you my Lord because they are here.

Let me continue my Lord to pray

Because there is so very much to say

I’ve seen the mountains so bold and strong

Watched a river flow along

Seen the soil when it’s black with rain

Knowing that soon it will grow golden grain

Watched with wonder at the fiery crimson fingers

Of sunlight reached in the sky to pull the light of day

Knowing the moon would soon weave its silvery way

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer's Coming!

Well, spring is definitely in the air. During the past couple of weeks I've watched my youngest, Kayla play Lord of the Rings beautifully on her flute at the Spring Fling concert at her Junior High School-she even got to play a solo on the CD recording later in the week. I watched my middle daughter, Rebekah, walk tentatively hand in hand with her boyfriend to his graduation, happy for his success-he graduated with honours-worried about his future and scared that she would now have to spend her final two years of High School without him. I scrambled furiously with my oldest, Rachel trying to arrange her classes for her second year at ACAD and making sure she got every class she wanted-she did and will be declaring her major, hopefully, in painting by the spring next year. But the surest sign of spring came this past weekend when my husband, Simon, Kayla, Rebekah, my step-son, Dennis and his daughter Brooke and, of course my two dogs, Pixie and Sheba all went camping. Yehaw!! It was so much fun. Simon and Bekah swam in the freezing river with Sheba. Everyone went 4x4ing and got covered in mud-Simon broke the clutch in his Jeep. They all saw a moose. It rained. We roasted hot dogs and hamburgers. The moon was bright and round-we looked at it with our new skymaster binoculars. We slept deeply and soundly from the fresh air and I now have mountains and mountains of laundry. Yep, it is definitely spring and I can smell the summer racing towards me. I better go renew my fishing license.
The beautiful Elbow River.

Sheba diving for a stick.

Got it!

The water's so clear.

Shake, shake shake!

Hey, there's a person over there!

And there goes another one!

Rebekah helps her dad up.

Sheba swims to join them.
Rebekah, Simon and Sheba.

There goes Simon.

Now it's Bekah's turn.
A small waterfall across the river. I think a cougar lives near the top because there's always tracks up there.
Pixie playing in the sand.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I spent it as only a mother would, in the emergency room of the hospital with my oldest daughter. She's been sick for the last week, unable to keep anything down and starting to dehydrate quickly. I knew she wasn't deathly ill but I also knew she needed fluids in a way that I couldn't provide for her. So, at five o'clock in the morning my husband, my sick daughter and her sister (who couldn't bare to see her big sister so sick and wanted to make sure the hospital treated her right) headed to the Rockyview hospital. It was going to be a long wait so, after a couple of hours, I told my husband to take Kayla and go back home; I would stay with Rachel and call when we were ready to come home. We were there for six hours. Rachel had the flu and they pumped three bags of NaCl into her which made her start to feel a little better.

As I sat in the world's most uncomfortable chair and watched my daughter sleeping on the stretcher, I remembered that it was Mother's Day and I thought about how ironic that was. I realized that these were the times in my life when I didn't want to be a mother. I didn't want to feel the pain of loving someone so much that you hurt when they hurt. I didn't want to feel the heavy burden of worry that all mothers carry when their child is sick. I didn't want to feel helpless in knowing there was nothing I could do to help. Then I started to think about all those times in my childhood when I was sick and heartbroken and lost in a world of cruelty and hatred and hollowness. How could I have ever survived without my mother? Her kind face and loving eyes. Her touch when she stroked my hair or lifted my chin were the only things that helped me through my hard times. She carried my burden for me alot of times and never complained, always smiled and loved me unconditionally. My life would have been so much less if it wasn't for my mom. I felt the same feelings for my mom that I now feel for my kids; I hurt when she hurt, I laughed when she laughed and I cried when she cried.

Rachel woke up and looked at me. I took her hand and stroked back her hair. She never said anything; she just smiled and went back to sleep. Oh, how I love being a mother. To have that magic touch with another human being is the most satisfying feeling in the world.

I made a wish to myself a long time ago that, when I grew up, I wanted to be like my mom. I wanted my children to love me as much as I loved her. If I have done that, I have achieved the greatest success of all.

Happy Mother's Day! (a day late)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yayy!! 1000 pageviews!!! Thank you everyone for tuning into my blog and helping me reach 1000 pageviews. It's fun to write about things I like and I'm glad that others enjoy it too.

I'm not the type of person that shares my life very easily. In fact, I'm a bit of a recluse (when I was younger they called it being shy). You see, when I was in school, I wasn't bullied, oh no, much worse. I was ignored. It was like I didn't even exist and I grew to like that feeling and never tried to step out of my comfortable little cocoon I had spun. So, when all this social media buzz started, I was very reluctant to get involved. Then I wrote a book and not only did I write it, but I also published it myself. This meant that I had to promote it myself if I wanted anyone else out there to read it. I couldn't afford to spend any money on advertising so I had to get out there via the internet. (My heart falls on the floor and I have to crawl down and get it.) I had to, oh my God, get a twitter account, join Goodreads and Book Blogs. I had to write emails to bloggers and ask if they wanted to review my book (Thanks to those that did. Bloggers are so dedicated.) and I had to start a blog of my own and hope someone out there would actually read it.

I'm amazed, now, when I look at my stats and see where viewers are coming from. I thought my relatives would be the only ones to tune in but I actually have people in Russia that visit here and Germany. There's been a couple of hits from the UK and Muldova. South America's been represented too by a couple of viewers in Brazil and Chile and I have both Canadian and American viewers. This is pretty cool! I'm starting to like this social media thing. I'm always checking my twitter, I still don't tweet very much (that sounds weird) but I'm learning. My book hasn't sold thousands and thousands of copies but I'm working on promoting it. I'm still writing and have another book finished. I created a Pinterest account yesterday and am having fun posting pictures of the things I love most. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I put something about myself out there but I'm doing it. I'm just happy that someone out there appreciates it. Thank you.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Calgary Comic Expo 2012

I've just spent an incredible weekend with my three daughters. I was a giggling teenager again and I loved every minute of it. Last year I went with my youngest daughter to the Comic Expo, not my cup of tea but I knew she was very excited about it. We weren't even there half an hour before I had to visit a bank machine and replenish my wallet. She wanted to see William Shatner but I really didn't want to pay the autograph fee. I found it strange that a star would ask for money for his signature. I've since learned that this is common practise at these things. When we left, I was exhausted and broke and she was excited and anxious for the next year. I nodded and said, "Sure I'll bring you again." Inside I was hoping that, maybe, it would slip her mind over the course of the year. Then I saw the guests for the 2012 Comic Expo and I forgot that I was an over forty mom and screamed like a school girl.

Spike was going to be there! I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, thanks to my oldest daughter, and Spike is one of my favourite characters (in my opinion the best vampire ever). Yes, James Marsters was just one of several guests that I wanted to see. So, I bought weekend passes for the four of us and on Friday we headed down to the Stampeded grounds and explored everything.

There were artist booths, great for Rachel who is going to be starting her second year of her Bachelor of Fine Arts program in the fall. There was a reptile display which Rebekah loved and got her picture taken with Buffy the boa constrictor. There were ponies, ponies everywhere for Kayla who stocked up on old ponies I'm sure my nieces had twenty years ago when they were kids. And there was James Marsters sitting at a table signing autographs for me to admire from afar. We did get his autograph and I must say he was the nicest person. He shook my hand and talked to my girls and made us all feel special. I think I probably looked silly as I stood there not knowing what to say. (Schoolgirl giggly goof!) My kids met Jim Cummings, voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Dark Wing Duck, etc., (Rebekah was beside herself), Tara Strong, voice of Twilight Sparkle (Kayla spent Sunday afternoon at the Brony Panel), and many very talented artists.

The hilite for a lot of people was the reunion of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast but I was never a huge Trekkie fan but that didn't matter. There seemed to be so many different stars that everyone that went was satisfied. There was James and Oliver Phelps (the Weasley twins in Harry Potter), Hayden Panettiere (the cheerleader in Heroes), Michael Rooker (the Walking Dead), Adam Baldwin (Jane in Firefly), Stan Lee (comic book legend), and so many more. The costumes people made and wore were fantastic. The panels that we could go to and ask questions of the stars were fun. There was just too many great things going on that I changed my mind about these things and will most definitely going back next year.

I posted some pictures and hope that you enjoy them and would like to say, if you ever get a chance to go to one of these comic expos GO. You'll feel like a kid again and have so much fun even though I could probably now sleep for a week and am broke for a couple of months. It was worth it!

The orginal Batmobile

Rebekah and Kayla in the DeLorean from Back to the Future

Inside the DeLorean

James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Kayla and Tara Strong (voice of Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony)

Kayla and Rebekah with Jim Cummings (voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too)

Jim Cummings panel. He was so good.

Stan Lee panel. A legend who told stories about Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk and how he created them.

Stan Lee

James Marster's panel. He even spoke a little with his British accent.

James Marsters

James Marsters

One of the many cool costumes