I Fell Flat On My Face ~ A Memoir for #MondayBlogs

It was more flat on my back, but it sure felt like I fell flat on my face. I crashed hard. I fell onto my hands and knees then tumbled, skidded a bit on my forearms and elbow then ended flat on my back. My eyes were closed. I didn’t want to open them up. I felt pain. I felt more pain in my hands and elbow, why didn’t I get elbow pads?

I was rollerblading. I liked to exercise and I enjoyed being outside so roller blades seemed to be a fit for me. This particular day I needed fresh air. I was thinking too much about my boyfriend at the time. He was still in Jasper, Alberta and I was in Calgary. I moved for a job because I thought he was moving to pursue his career goals. Until he was charmed to stay in Jasper. There was a promise of another job that would help him with his career advancement in the corporate hotel chain. Our love story was more than complicated. I need more than this blog post, to sum up, this love affair.

I was skating along a paved foot-path behind a subdivision where my god-parents lived. I recently moved in with them because I couldn’t afford to live on my own. The apartment my ex-boyfriend and I rented was becoming too much for me, along with my car payments and everyday essentials. I worked two jobs to maintain the rent and even my father helped me for a bit, but that couldn’t go on, something had to change. The footpath was a great community area for everyone who lived in the subdivision and neighbors neighborhoods. There seemed to be people running, walking, rollerblading all the time. If you connected the footpath correctly, you could make it to downtown Calgary by the Bow-River.

I remember seeing a family of four. Mom, dad and two children. The children were on their bikes, one with training wheels, one without. They were going fast, so was I. I recently learned how to slow down like an ice skater on my blades. I was feeling confident in my new skills. The kids were riding towards the same corner I was heading towards. When I realized there was not going to be enough room for the three of us to pass one another I tried to stop myself, but I ran over a small rock and lost my footing. Bam! I was on the ground. The parents rushed over to see if I was okay. When I sat up, I looked down at my hands, they were protected by my wrist guards, a few scrapes along the padding, nothing serious. I looked at my knees which were also saved by the knee pads I was told I would need. I felt my body shaking and looked at my right elbow that seemed to be throbbing. I hear the mother say I need to wash off my elbow and get antiseptic on it to avoid infection. I see the amount of ash fault in my wound and feel my heart beat faster. The pools of blood start to appear and I hold my arm up above my head. The father asks if I have far to go, I say, not far, maybe ten minutes. Once I started to blade back to my god-parents home it felt a lot longer to get back. The ten minutes felt more like hours.  My hands started to hurt from the impact of the guards onto the hard cement. My adrenaline started to kick in and I didn’t feel as much pain as I did when I first fell.

Mike, Diane? I call out when I open the door to the house. They are in the kitchen talking. I bend over to take off my roller blades. I tell them I need their help, I fell and hurt my elbow. They immediately come to my aid and take my helmet, safety pads and walk me into the kitchen and start to run the water.                                              It’s going to sting. My god-father says. He tells me like it is, there is no need to hide the truth. They start to brush away the pebbles that are in the wound and I winch. After a few more minutes, my godmother is patting my wound dry before she puts a burn cream on it then covers it up with second skin. I’m feeling better but also a little woozy. The adrenaline is wearing off. My godmother pours me a whiskey to ease my nerves. I had another shot of whiskey to ease my nerves and the pulsating pain in my elbow that feels like it throbbing up and down my arm.

The next day I woke up and noticed my wound turning a bit green. Yikes! Now off to a clinic to get it looked at. The doctor that attended to me was cute which helped when he stuck the tetanus shot into my arm. I watched him instead of the needle. Then the doctor gave me a prescription and told me to invest in elbow pads if I was going to continue to Rollerblade. I agreed and the following week after my wound started to heal I bought elbow pads and couldn’t wait to put on my roller blades.


Do you have a memory of a sports injury? What did it feel like when it happened? Why do you think it happened?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today.

 

Where is Your Happy Place?

What is one of your favourite spots in your house? How do you feel when you are in that particular place? What makes it special? Can you tell me a story about this magical place in your home?

My favourite spot in our current home is my writing room. I do love the kitchen and both areas of our home give me goosebumps of joy. My writing room is ever -evolving. I have manifested my creative cave over the years and each time we move my writing spot evolves along with my writing.

When I walk into my writing room I am filled with many emotions. Joy and fear. Joy because I am about to settle down and write. Fear, because of the same reasons that I will be sitting to write. When I am writing I am at the purest version of myself. I am fulfilling my truth and that gives me both an endless sense of joy and fear. Why fear? I shouldn’t have fear because I have published my debut memoir and have exposed myself on the page. I have put the words on the page that many people have read. I have shared some of my darker thoughts and I can’t take them back, they are out there and there is no turning back. My writing room has provided me with a safe space to let my wall down and simply write.

Last week, one night after my hotel life job, I walked into my writing room and smiled. I may have fear at times, but my love for words and to share outweigh the fear. Love and fear live as one and that is in your home bring you?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

To read more about my experiences I invite you to read a few pages from my debut memoir about working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I survived much more than serving hundreds of tourist gallons of coffee and orange juice each morning while gazing up a the Victoria Glacier on Mount Lefroy in Lake Louise, Alberta.

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

5 Overused Words in Fiction

I enjoy learning about overused words to help me with my writing craft. I noticed how many times I have used the word ‘was’. Time to get out the editing pen.

A Writer's Path

by Kelsie Engen

I’m deep in the throes of editing my current WIP right now, Broken Time, which is why my poor blog has been taking a backseat. And what this really means is that I’m deep into the nitty-gritty of grammar, word usage, syntax, and pretty much the non-glamorous aspects of writing.

View original post 2,126 more words

Making Time To Write ~ Be Selfish

How do you find the time to write? A question that is often asked of myself and others who are trying to write who are trying balance writing and life. I work full-time at a hotel that I very much enjoy. It’s a double edge sword though. I enjoy my job because I am of service of those who come and stay with us. I love engaging with guests and employees. The hotel world has provided me with exactly what I need to maintain and excel this wonderful creative life. Hotels have given me a plethora of stories to share, guests to write about, and all the adventures I was and continue to be blessed with over the years. I also enjoy not being at the hotel because I want to be writing. My writing/hotel life is a bit comfortably complicated.

How do I make time to write when I am faced with a full-time job? With practice and patience. A lot of practice and patience. My two days off from the hotel life I am writing, and when I say writing, I mean everything that comes with writing. I am working on a new blog to have ready each Monday. I work on social media posts for the week. I am editing my work in progress. I am writing something new because that’s what writers are faced with, many ideas. Even if we have a project we are currently working on, there are other ideas that show up and for me, I can’t ignore the ideas, so I write them down and see where it goes for the moment I am taken away from my current work. This is something I am working on. Maybe jot down the idea and go back to the current work. Sounds simple enough, but sometimes a shiny new toy needs my attention. See, even though I am focused on writing at the moment, I am thinking about other topics to write about.

Two tips to help make time to write.
  1. Make writing the priority & Be Selfish. That’s right, I give you permission to be selfish. On my days off I am greedy with my time, in a good way. Every morning I write morning pages as soon as I get up. It may be a day off from the hotel life, but it’s not a day off from writing. Morning pages are where I dump everything onto the page that is rolling around in my head. Everything from what we are going to make for dinner that night, why my employees are not following certain procedures, how can I be a better leader, why am I thinking about work on my day off…morning pages help me let go of the self-doubt and negative Nelly that likes to speak up first thing in the morning at times. After the morning pages, I will open my WIP (work in progress) document and start to write. I need to finish this next book by the end of March and I’m a bit behind. Okay, I’m a lot behind and I have to follow my own advice. Make writing the priority. Forget the social media posts or the urge to sit on the sofa and watch another episode of whatever Netflix series I have started to watch. Just get back to the page as soon as possible. Our dreams deserve our attention.
  2. Writing sprints and timers. I belong to a writing group, 10-minute novelists, where the concept is to write for ten minutes at a time. Write for ten minutes then vacuum. Write for ten minutes, start the laundry. Write, then put the laundry in the dryer. Write and then get the laundry out of the dryer. This does work for me because I’ve been practising. It’s all about practising and finding the balance that works for you because all of our to-do lists are different and we have to know what is a priority for ourselves. Write those important items off your to-do list down and tackle them 10 minutes at a time.

What tips do you have to make time to write? Do you struggle with a full-time job/life that keeps you away from the page? I would love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

A big Thank you to  Katharine Grubb, the brain-child and leader of 10-minute novelists. If you are looking for a writing community, check out the group to see if it is a fit for you.

5 Tips to Start Writing a Memoir

Why write a memoir? Why have I chosen memoir as a genre to write and to share? A question I ask myself often. I don’t claim to be an expert of this genre, what I know to be true is that I have been given this talent to write and I want to share my stories. Maybe my stories will resonate with others. Maybe my love affairs with the wrong men will spark a story with readers that never thought their relationship troubles happened to others. But they do, we may not share them and that is why I am sharing my stories. To connect. To say, yes, this time was joyous or not the best, but I got through it and I’m moving forward, stronger, better, a better version of me.

There are many similar references on how to write a memoir. Each one has helped me.  I have my five favourite tips to start writing a memoir that has helped me over the years. If you find these helpful or have questions please let me know. We are here to support one another’s creative journey.

 

 

What is a memoir? Unlike the autobiography, the memoir is a slice of time in your life’s journey. Maybe it’s from the age of 12 to 18, or when you were in school (you chose the years), or maybe it’s over a year. For my first memoir, I have written about the first three summers working for a luxury hotel in the Canadian Rockies as a dining room server. It was one of the best times in my young adult life. There is also a connection with anyone who has worked in the food and beverage service. There is a connection with anyone who has gone out for dinner and been served by a hospitality worker. We are all connected. My favourite five tips on writing a memoir:

  1. Make the time. After you have chosen the time frame that you want to write about, it’s time to write. I know it sounds easy to write this statement, but it’s true. You have to sit down and start writing.
  2. Focus. What makes the memoir different from an autobiography? It is a slice of a story within your story of life. Focus on the time that you want to write about.
  3. Write in the first person. No one else can tell your story. Write in the first person. Write your story from your point of view.
  4. Keep it simple, chronically I mean. Start at the beginning and try to keep the story on track. It will help you tell your story and your readers. It’s hard to focus on the story when you jump around.
  5. Keep the editor in the corner. Finish your story before you start editing. You can’t edit what is not written. I heard this message in a writing workshop once from a successful paranormal romance writer. She didn’t hold back on saying it out loud and with intention. What does it come down to? Writing is writing.

If you have any questions about these tips contact me. I’m happy to help. You can email me and we connect for writing meet up.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

The five steps above helped me finish my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers

If you liked, Kitchen Confidential and the Grand Budapest Hotel, you will enjoy this eye-opening life experience of one employee’s journey of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

 

 

The Weather ~ A not so hot topic these days

Depending on where you are in the world, you may be experiencing not so typical weather conditions in the past few days or weeks. The east coast has been undergoing blizzard-like weather that is freezing areas of Niagara Falls. The last time the Horseshoe Falls of Niagara Falls was frozen was in 1947. Can we expect some kind of apocalyptic episode conjuring due to the weather these days?

Here on Vancouver Island, we are wondering what is going on with the frigid temperatures. Here in Victoria, BC, we have been spoiled with Spring Like temperatures in February. Not this year. I have pulled out my winter coat, long johns and doubled up my mittens. That’s when I wear a pair of gloves and then put mittens over the gloves. You know it’s cold when. Though I may wince about the fridge cold wind that creates the windchill to -10 for us on the island I can’t say too much when places like Fort Saskatchewan, are experiencing windchill up to -38 ouch! I want to send hugs to everyone there to keep them warm.

I do enjoy a few things about the cold temperatures (you may think there is nothing good about the cold). If I don’t have to go outside, it’s fun to stay in your pj’s, wrapped up in blankets, watching movies and drinking hot chocolate (with Bailey’s if you’re so inclined). If I have to go outside (which I do to get to the gym and for work), I love bundling up. It reminds me of when I was younger. I saw the snow falling and wanted to go outside and play. Fall into the snow and make snow angels, make snowmen, build snow forts, but the best part about the snow and cold was on my grandparents Berry farm. We had fresh maple syrup candy sticks. My mouth is watering as the memory floats around my mind.

My grandparents had many maple trees that they tapped for buckets of maple syrup. I would watch my grandmother bring the freshly tapped syrup to boil on the wood stove and then we would head outside and she would ladle the sweet nectar along the fresh snow. We (my cousins) would have our popsicle sticks in hand ready to place on the syrup ready to twirl around our sticks for that perfectly balanced warm but almost frozen maple treat. The sweet treat would tingle my tongue and stick to my teeth for the day. It was a great time!

When I worked for the luxury hotel in Lake Louise, the lake would freeze over and I would cross-country ski across the Lake and back. But my favorite times were cross-country skiing towards Moraine Lake by myself during a full moon. The temperature would be freezing, but I had all the proper skiing clothing and once I got gliding along my body heat kept me warm for the journey. To be out amongst the mountains, untouched forest and fresh snow was pure heave to me. I spent a lot of time on my cross-country skies during my time at the Lake. I worked out a lot of relationship heartaches, work problems but more importantly, I worked on myself, making sure I was physically and mentally healthy.

The cold weather can be uncomfortable but it can also bring happy memories. There’s not much we can do about the weather, we will grin and bear it and then when the sun and warmth return we won’t remember those chilly days trying to avoid the wind gusts as we try to get to our destination. That’s the beauty of the weather, it keeps us on our toes and we will always have something to talk about.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

To learn more about my experiences at Lake Louise and to sign up for my NEWSLETTER for easy plant-based/veggie recipes and updates on my next memoir about surviving the winters living atop a mountain. Thank you – I look forward to connecting with you.

 

What is Hospitality? #Mondayblogs

What is hospitality?

The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

I like to think of hospitality as welcoming people into my home. I want to make sure they are comfortable and enjoying themselves to the fullest.

How does one get into the hospitality business? How did I end up here? A few questions I get asked often when I’m talking with guests when they ask me if I’m from Victoria and I share that I am not. The conversation can go something like this:

Guest: Are you from Victoria?
Me: No, I’m from Nova Scotia.
Guest: One coast to another.
Me: Something like that.
Guest: How did you end up on the island?

Now here is when I may say,
Me: Oh it’s a long story.

If it’s a busy day I don’t have time to expose my story. I know I’m in the business of hospitality but I’m sure guests want to get to their room and relax, they don’t want to hear my story at that moment. But sometimes I have time to tell part of my story and will say.

Me: For Love. (That’s when I get an intriguing look from guests and they want to hear more.)

I start to share my hotel life history. How I started in Lake Louise, then moved to Jasper then Calgary, back to Jasper and then Edmonton. A love affair with the Canadian Rockies and hotel life for over ten years. Then I share how we ended up on Vancouver Island. Our original plan was to move to Victoria, but we were offered jobs Tofino, BC. One of the most beautiful places to live and work besides the resorts in the Canadian Rockies. Then after 7 years, we made our way to the capital city.

 

My hotel life is no accident. I’m here to be of service. My creative life is also not by chance. My creative life and hotel life are one. Every experience that has been present has been a blessing. My hotel life continues to provide me with everything that is needed to excel this creative life. Thank you, creativity.

My debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers is about my first few summers working at a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

If you liked, Kitchen Confidential and the Grand Budapest Hotel, you will enjoy this eye-opening life experience of one employee’s journey of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

5 Things About Me ~ I gave up chocolate!

Five things about me you may not know. We may have some things in common.

  1. I’m an only child. I have mixed feelings about being an only lonely. When I was growing up I didn’t mind getting more presents at Christmas and my birthday. I didn’t have to share a bedroom or a bathroom with a sibling or siblings. I didn’t have to fight over what to watch on TV, my Saturday morning cartoon ritual was on my own time. I did, however, miss out on learning how to share, share my toys and feelings. I was labelled as a shy little girl when I was young, and I played the part. I would watch my cousins interact with their brothers and sisters and I didn’t understand that when they were fighting they were “play fighting” it was real, they were just goofing around and within a blink of an eye they forgot about why they were playing around and went onto something else that entertained them. I was content being by myself and the stories that started to be whispered into my ears.

close up photo of flowers in the middle of book page

 

2. I have written and self-published my first memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers                                                                                                                                                If you liked, Kitchen Confidential and the Grand Budapest Hotel, you will enjoy this eye-opening life experience of one employee’s journey of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

3. I love to cook. One of my mantras is ‘if I’m not writing, I’m cooking’. Like writing, cooking is one of my passions. When I am cooking I’m in a meditative state. Very in the moment with the food I’m preparing to nourish our bodies, minds and spirits.

4. Though my genre is memoir, I also would like to write a thriller and a romance. Maybe a romantic thriller, or both. I have one thriller that I’ve started to write, but at the moment my focus is on my second memoir about working for the luxury hotel during the winters in the Canadian Rockies. Ice Castles, skiing and love triangles on top of a mountain. It made the long winters go by quickly.

5. I gave up chocolate for a year and a bit. A few years ago I noticed how addicted to chocolate I was and I wanted to challenge myself on quitting chocolate for at least a year. At the beginning it was difficult, I had to break the habit of eating chocolate on a daily basis. After six months I didn’t even miss chocolate. Especially during the holidays when guests would drop off boxes of Pot of golds, Purdy’s, After Eights, and every other chocolate treats at Christmas time. After almost a year and a half, I started to enjoy chocolate again. I didn’t go back to the generic chocolate, I made an effort to buy organic and fair trade chocolate. It tasted better and I felt much better for supporting local chocolatiers and healthier options. I continue to make conscious choices about chocolate. I’ve been thinking of quitting chocolate and other treats again. It’s good to shake the routine up.

I would love to hear from you. Five things that I may or may not know about you.

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a gift of thanks.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Settings for My Current Novel

I am participating in a January Instagram photo challenge and this week has been fun with finding pictures that match the daily theme. Research can spark my memory which is helpful as I work on my second memoir about working in a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

What is the setting of my current novel? 

This is the Victoria Dining Room at the Chateau Lake Louise. It was where my hotel life pretty much started. When I first set foot in the dining room, the sea of tables overwhelmed me. I was accustomed to the fast-paced environment of working at McDonald’s, which prepared me for the intense environment of the grand dining that could serve up to five hundred people at a time. But the golden arches didn’t prepare me for the five-star level of service I was expected to provide every time I stepped into the 6000 square foot dining room.

What I learned

I learned quickly to keep my permanent smile on and agreed the guest was always right (even when they weren’t). The guests of the Lake were paying hundreds of dollars to stay at the luxury hotel and they paid for the service.                                       I mastered the act of grinning and bearing a lot of the guests. Snapping fingers, ‘hey you’s’ and all around arrogance from the guests who didn’t care about the employees. They cared about being in one of the most beautiful places in the North American and telling their friends all about the time they vacationed at the Banff National Park. But, there were a lot more grateful guests than not. I witness a lot of memorable times as well, wedding proposals, anniversaries and celebrations in the dining room. I am very fortunate to have had these experiences and adventures. I learned how to be a better server, host, trainer, and leader from my time in the Canadian Rockies. I got my training wheels at the Lake and was prepared for the next lessons in life. Love. That’s a whole other story.

I am currently working on my second memoir about working at the Lake during the Winters. Going from serving hundreds of people a day on any given summer day, to working three nights a week for fifteen hours for a banquet was a shift I couldn’t get used to. But once I started to cross-country skiing I didn’t mind working less and taking advantage of the outdoor adventures the Lake offered. What fun!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

How did I stumble upon my hotel life? Find out Here