Sunday, September 28, 2008

Edmonton in a Millisecond


We flew to Edmonton after work one night and by the next night just pre the midnight hour, we were back home in Regina. In the midst of all that travelling, we shopped and dined and saw the sights - well the sights of Whyte Avenue - and just generally had a good time.

Wednesday night we arrived relatively early, 9:00 p.m. and the avenue was crowded with people milling outside local bars, roaming down the sidewalk, couples walking hand in hand, bikers cruising the street. It was an assortment of young and old. It was amazing and worth a trip down the avenue just to people watch. The next day we were able to steal a few hours shopping. And steal it was as the clock ticked and the airport pickup time loomed.

For a non-shopper I was hooked and did I mention, time was limited. Funky shops were everywhere from the designer fashion chains such as Lulu Lemon to unique independents selling clothes I only wish I could afford. There was a fun shop and a pet shop that specialized mainly in designer dog wear. With any luck one notable Irish Terrier will be featured when I update the website. Check back at the end of the week
for Rourke with an attitude wearing his new doggles.

Trips don't always have to be long. They may be fun but they're always an adventure!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Much is Too Much?

On a recent trip to Edmonton, the woman ahead of me in the airport check-in line glanced at me and then spun around with an "Oh My God!"

And I thought, what? Is my zipper down? Did I wear underwear? What could possibly have caused such a reaction.

"Is that all you have?" she asks next with disbelief riding in the furrows between her brows. With suitcases sprawled around her and her companion, our line-up mate was a little overwhelmed by my lack of luggage. Of course, what she also didn't know was that, for me, this was only an overnight trip.

Still, the whole thing brought up the question, in travel and in life - how much is too much? Are you overwhelmed with stuff and, like me, do you struggle to clear yourself of a rumble of memories from family photos to treasures of childhood. When and what do you pitch? And where do you draw a line. For me, it's vacation. I'm there to enjoy, not to haul an overweight samsonite across downy sand beaches. And at home, same thing. How many Christmas pictures do I need when each is indiscernible from the year that preceded it and the only clarity is when a decade or two has elapsed?

How much is too much?


Friday, September 19, 2008

The West Edmonton Mall

Or, how not to get there? The mall I mean. Edmonton is bigger than anticipated. Of course, being from Regina, Saskatchewan, our perception of bigger - is well, skewed. Feel free to laugh out loud now.

Seriously, I should have gone to Edmonton a lot sooner than I did. It's a fantastic place and I'll have more in another post. For this post, the West Edmonton mall was in the plan. But plans are made to go array. I think that's what makes every life notable. A life lived with a plan in mind but the flexibility to veer is ideal. And the other day I veered. With a short few hours to make a plane, plans had to change. And change they did. And in the process of rerouting we learned something about ourselves and about our environment. In other words we grew. With every decision in our life, we should think - What does that effect? What did I change? How did I grow?

What makes you veer on the course of life?


Dreams, Reality and a bit of Destiny

Do you believe in destiny?

This week has been unexplainable - some unexpected knocks, some strange occurrences, and some unexpected opportunities - I call it destiny.

On every journey there's a turning point or a pivotal moment, as Dr. Phil would say. Some of these moments are small, unnoticed amidst the hum of daily life. And some of these moments are so large and so life changing that "a deer in the headlights" becomes an apt expression. But it's when you take the journey into your hands and begin to steer the ship instead of reacting to the waves, that's when the changes become more frequent, more life changing, more difficult to control.

As you charter your boat toward your dreams, toward the person you want to become, it might be a rocky ride but good things begin to happen. Change doesn't happen without sacrifice but change implemented with a good heart and good intent can be nothing but good for us and for those around us.

Dreams are simple, unstructured and often unrealized. A dream with a plan is a dream that begins to breath. Start simple. No matter if you're scrubbing floors and dreaming of singing opera or driving cab and dreaming of traveling the world - today, do one thing that makes you happy and more than likely that will be something that defines who your soul says you are.

So, yes, I believe in destiny, but I think sometimes we can give her a little nudge. Of course, that means she's going to push right back, which only means the journey will not be boring!

I always wanted to be a writer. And you, what's your dream?

Ryshia's MySpace

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Take Charge - Move On

Sometimes shadows cross your path. Whether it's the perpetual negativity of an acquaintance or the potential damage of a gossip. There are all sorts of dark shadows that play across our lives, some much more damaging and subtle than any I have mentioned. All we can do is stay focused on who we are and what our purpose on this planet is. Dodge the shadows. They are rerouters that must be avoided. But every once in awhile, we can't. Then it's time to take charge - take a detour, move on.

This month I'm taking one of those detours, remembering what's important in my life, my goals, putting things in perspective and detouring. Detours are our way of taking charge of the direction our life is taking. And once you've decided on the detour - well eventually the shadow lifts - and it's time for some rock and roll. Even shadows cannot remain in the presence of the rock greats!!

Led Zepplin - Immigrant Song

"This too shall pass."


Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Journey's Short

Why is it that when you're on the path of life everything that rolls across that path has the potential to be turned into a major event? Large or small, insurmountable or not, we can literally make mountains out of mole hills. We sweat the small things, the every day things. But what will we remember when we look back? Will we remember the boss who had more control issues than a prison guard? Will the "ridiculous" tax hike really matter five years from now? What will matter? There are always boulders in life that really are just that, boulders. There's no need to turn the occasional collection of pebbles into something that's bigger than it is.

It's not easy letting go of the obstacles, but I try to put my energy into what I love best; family, friends, my freedom, and my writing. What do you put your energy to?

Ryshia at MySpace

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Promotion - Don't Let it Eat You Alive

When you're balancing work with writing, especially as you begin the path toward full-time writer, promotion can be overwhelming. There's no end to what's available. How do you choose? What's the best "bang for your buck." Do you spend the buck? The questions could be an entire post.

As a writer, I find the promotional journey has been fascinating and frustrating and rewarding. It's a contradictory process where success is often delayed and the successful strategy sometimes difficult to pinpoint. But here's the most important thing I've learned so far.

Following the crowd often makes sure you're lost in the crowd. That doesn't mean that what the crowd is doing is wrong. They're probably right, and that's why there is a crowd, but you've got to do it differently. You have to stand out. What's unique about your story? Is there an angle? Use it and use it in a way that no one has before. Make noise.

Today I watched people rappelling down an office tower. The event got everyone's attention. The sidewalk was crowded and everyone knew what it was about. What an incredible way to snag people's attention! While most of us won't rappel down an office tower, don't think I didn't consider it, we do have to be unique to be heard above the roar of a crowded marketplace.

We're all selling something - what
is your unique angle?

And for all of you who share your passion
with a day job -
Working Class Hero


Monday, September 8, 2008

Saskatchewan - Coffee Time

Today I was on the road and off to visit one of my favourite Saskatchewan places, Abernethy, Saskatchewan. And it was there that I experienced coffee time. Not coffee time, like I had experienced anywhere before. There was no visit to a cafe or local coffee shop. No. We went to someone's house where coffee was on every day for anyone in town, or in my case out-of-town, who showed up.Coffee is served in the garage, as long as the weather holds. When the weather turns cold, everyone moves to the house but coffee is still served. Every day, 10 o'clock, rain or shine, as long as the household occupants are home - coffee is served!

And show up they did. One senior even arrived on an ATV Artic quad which he parked on the neat concrete driveway right beside our car. Others walked but soon we were all ensconced in the garage on plastic lawn chairs, nursing hot coffee and being offered fresh muffins by our fantastic hostess.

So, in my comfortable, plastic woven rocker and with coffee in hand, I sat back, careful not to rock into the car parked just behind me, and enjoyed the experience.

Coffee anyone?


Friday, September 5, 2008

Bad Guys

What do you listen to when you're writing. I write to bubbly syrup type music like Abba when I'm creating my sweet front guy. Nirvana when things are a bit troubled. Mozart when I'm just making up ground or on a roll. But Led Zepplin and associated rock that's for the the bad guys. The bad guys takes a story and twist it through the wringer. The plot tightens and the pace makes you hold your breath if your bad guy is doing his job. The antagonist can be viciously blunt and brutal but yet there is always some shred of humanity there. They are always broken, tortured souls for one reason or the other. Sometimes we know what turned them and sometimes we don't. But you can always feel for them at least to a point.

Shakespeare was populated with cads and it appears mankind is fascinated by the dark side. So Cruella Da Vil, Dishonest John, Hannibal Lector - How would you paint a bad guy that the world would love?


Ryshia's Myspace