The Truth About the Creative Life

I have been sharing a lot about my writing life and how grateful I am for the opportunities and experiences that have been and that are provided to maintain this creative life. Where does it come from? There are many names we give this source, God is the go-to name, and that is completely fine. For me, it’s the universe. The universe has always provided exactly what was needed and what I was ready for to get to the next step. The universe has exposed me to experiences that we part of my path, but I may have chosen the wrong situation and it was still part of my journey to understand the lesson to be learned. What do I mean by this?

What you resist, persists

There once was a girl who wanted a boyfriend. She was jealous of her friends who had a boy chasing after them. This girl was average-looking, but when she looked into a mirror and stared into her own eyes, she saw something special. She was told how special she was by her parents, especially her mother and maternal grandmother. She felt this unique energy of love, but she didn’t believe it when the boys she had a crush on used her for her pens and pencils at school only to get closer to her girlfriend. In high school, the boy she had a crush on took her to a basketball game, went to the mall with her, talked to her in the hallways of high school, sat next to her in class. She was smitten. She thought he was going to ask her to the next school dance.

“Can you give me “Julie’s” phone number please. I want to ask her to study group.”

The boy explained he wanted to be someone who was as academic as he was. If he couldn’t compete with Julie then he may as well collaborate with her and at the same time date her. He also said his friend liked the girl and he would introduce them. It was a win-win for everyone the boy implied.

The girl was devastated. She was mad. She was hurt. Her body raced with jealousy and anger.

She didn’t give the boy the phone number nor did she sit next to him in the next science class.

The girl vowed she would never let a boy take advantage of her again. Never say never.

After the science boy, she met a new boy through the youth group the science boy invited her to that she still enjoyed attending. Divine intervention came into play. The new boy, a skater boy, was nice, they had a few things in common, like music and books. The girl thought he was too good-looking for her, even when he asked if they could give her a drive home, she declined. She thanked them but said she was okay with taking the bus.

A few weeks later the skater boy called the girl to ask her out. She was in shock and happily accepted. They dated for a year until she started to receive more attention from other boys. She treated her skater boy like her crushes treated her. Her skater boy wanted more. She didn’t. He wanted to get married when they finished university. She wanted to travel and be free. She never shared with the boy she never wanted to get married. She left him for another boy who wanted even more of a commitment, marriage, babies, and house. She ran away from the love she always wanted but didn’t want the commitment.

***

True love persisted me every time I kept it at an arms length. I always thought there was something more. Deep down I knew if I stayed with skater boy, I would have lived a life I didn’t want. One with marriage, children, the dog, the house and white picket fence. That was my perception, I should say that was my ego’s thoughts. I listened to the ego for a long time and by the time I went through each relationship, each heartache, I was stripped down to the core. I didn’t want to date any more, I didn’t want to share my hart with anyone, I needed to heal and learn to love myself before giving up my heart to another.

Then I met my hubby. We are not married but we have been together for eighteen years. Somewhere the universe picked up on my intentions of finding a man who would take care of me but let me be independent. After the last heartache, I pretty much gave up on love. I said I would be single until I got my s@$t together, loved myself and started writing seriously. I started to write everyday which made me feel joy and love myself for the creative being I was and am, and I started to take myself seriously as a writer and in my career in the hotel life. I was living my intentions as best as I could. Then my hubby showed up and there was no games, no nonsense and no waiting for the other shoe to drop. We connected and have been on an adventure of a life time ever since we met. Yes, there is work and we don’t always see eye-to-eye on things, but we always come to centre and understand we are different but the key is we talk through everything and we support one another 150%. We are in an stage of constant flow and growth. The universe provides us with exactly what is needed to maintain this amazing creative life.

One of many of my go-to quotes regarding the flow of the universe is by Jen Scenario, ‘I am one with the universe. The universe is amazing and so am I?’ YES!

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Sharing Snippet: Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Resort Life

I am trying to honor myself and the creative life by sharing more of my work in progress, my next hospitality memoire, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Resort Life, where I share my experiences working for luxury hotels in the Canadian Rockies. I pronounced at an early age I wanted to be a writer. Possibly at the age of 8 or even earlier. I always had a story in my head. I wanted to write (and still do) TV shows, movies, books and I thought I would write romance or maybe mystery, because I read a lot of romance and mystery books. I also loved watching, ‘Murder She Wrote’, and Romancing the Stone, who wouldn’t want to be Angela Lansbury or Joan Wilder?

Through serendipitous events I have been provided with life experiences that I am grateful for.

***

FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT

            Standing in the kitchen by the entrance to the main dining room of Chateau Lake Louise, the Victoria dining room, meant I was either coming or going from the kitchen.

            Going into the dining room to get whatever appetizer, entrée or desert to place in front of a couple, table of four or the dreaded table of eight or ten tourists sitting together. Too many people to keep a track of at one table. Give me five tables of two (tables for two people) and I’m good. It’s easier to talk to a couple. Couples usually are on a special occasion, not wanting to talk to me. They want to gaze into one another’s eyes.

                        Sis: Honeymooners. Ugh.

                        Marion Ann: Low maintenance is good.

            Larger tables, for example eight or ten people, meant multiple couples or family traveling together. The beloved Taulk or Princess Tours guests tend to group together when they travel weeks together. Then they decide to have dinner together, which is fine, but for servers, it’s a lot of work. The people at the table like to talk to one another across the table about everything and anything. Sometimes it was too much information.

            Guest A: Lilian, did you hear about the woman on our tour with cancer?

            Lilian: What kind. What a shame.

            Guest A: I thought you knew.

            Guest C: Who?

            Guest A: You know, the single woman who sits by herself on the coach.

            Guest C: I know her, well I don’t know her but I know of her.

On and on it goes, until I stand up straight and I speak over their noise.

            “Good evening everyone. Can I start anyone with a cocktail while you review the menu?”

I look at each of the guests as I talk, they are nodding and smiling acknowledging me. Some of them look past me or right through me as if I’m not even standing there. They don’t care.

            Guest A: Gin martini, straight up, that’s without ice, with a lemon twist.

            Guest C: Chardonnay.

            Guest B: Water is fine, I have a heart condition.

            Guest C: Shame. They say a glass of red wine a day is good for the heart. Have a glass, it won’t hurt you.

            Guest B: Who says that?

            Guest C: Doctors.

            Gust A: It’s true. I heard it as well. Go ahead, have a glass.

                        Sis: Gezus! I’ll finish it if none of you finish it.

Ten minutes later I’m ringing in the drink orders at the bar. I see one new table being seated in my section. Normally this wouldn’t happen if the table of ten is seated. But nothing is certain in the dining room.

                        Marion Ann: Seriously!?

                        Sis: Here we go!

My friend is bartending and gives me a look of understanding. I roll my eyes as I place the glasses of wine and high balls on my serving tray. The bartender is placing the martinis on another tray to follow behind me. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Before I get back to the table of ten, I say hello to my new table, they are a young Asian couple, all smiles and taking pictures of the Lake. I see the little note by their drink menu to tell me they are a F.I.T table, (A tour Individual traveller, they are travelling on their own but their meals are like any of the larger tours, soup, salad, entrée and desert, easy Frisbee services). I ask if they would like a winero or a beero and they point to the white wine on my tray. I smile to acknowledge their request.

I walk towards my table of ten who are now talking about a grandson’s wedding.

            Guest C: They spent five thousand dollars on the dress.

            Guest A: Five thousand? I didn’t spend a hundred dollars on my dress.

            Guest B: What are these kids coming to?

                        Sis: Oh my gawd!

                        Marion Ann: Deep breath.

I place the drinks in front of the right people and they all pick up their glasses and toast one another. I let them know I will be right back to answer any questions and take their order.

            Guest B: Oh dear, we haven’t even looked at the menus. Give us another five minutes.

                        Marion Ann: Shit. I hate when they do this.

                        Sis: Self-entitlement.

                        Marion Ann: High maintenance equals no tip.

I nodded and confirmed I would be back in five minutes to take their orders. I walked towards the couple with their white wines. They thanked me several times and started taking pictures again. I headed to the kitchen with my bar tray to pick up their first course of miso soup.

I walked back in the kitchen where I could stop smiling and take a deep breath. I knew the table of ten was going to make for a long evening. I over heard them trying to figure out if they should share all the appetizers.

                        Sis: Sounds like fun.

                        Marion Ann: At least I could gather more personalities to use in a story.

                        Sis: That’s a girl. Focus on the writing.

There was a reason I returned to the Lake and wanted to stay for as long as I did. Creativity provided me with the perfect surroundings to write about. The other life stuff that happened was part of the deal. The table of ten ended up tipping me more than the regular fifteen percent. They told me they appreciated my attention to detail and privacy. I didn’t do anything differently that night. I did my job. I provided them quality service, food and an experience.

***

If you would like to read more about my first memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, please click here. Thank you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Back to the Basic’s ~ For the umteenth time

A few years ago I was a disciple of Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art. There is so much to relate to, especially with Resistance. Now I am reading Mr. Pressfields, Turning Pro, Tap Your Inner Power and create your life’s work, and right from the start I am hit hard with the truth. Before I started reading the book, I flipped through the pages because there is a message for me right away.

Art and Addiction – bam! Let’s get into now, there is no time like the present.

From The War of Art, there is a theme about resistance which resonated with me. Resistance of getting to the page as often I as I use to. I was beating myself up because I use to write for hours at a time, the was when I had an entry level job, no responsibility, except to show up, do the job and leave and leave the job at the work place for the next day.

As I started to grow in my hotel life, the distractions, the displacement activities that Steven Pressfield’s, Turing Pro, talks about, started to show.

” When we’re living as amateurs, we’re running away from our calling – meaning our work, our destiny, the obligation to become our truest and highest selves. Addiction becomes a surrogate for our calling. We enact the addiction instead of embracing the calling. Why? Because to follow a calling requires work. It’s hard. It hurts. It demands entering the pain-zone of effort, risk, and exposure.” ~ Turning Pro

Read that again. Let it sink in. I am still floating around the truth of these words. I shared how I was more productive when I had little responsibility at the day job and had more space for creativity. I was happy to be diving into my destiny as a creative being. I look back and can see the moments where my writing started to suffer, where I stopped writing for hours and was happy to squeeze in a half hour each day. I started to take on more responsibility at the hotel life, then I became a manager and the level of responsibility took over and creativity was on the side lines waiting patiently for me. This sounds like an excuse, and maybe it is, but on some other level I was possibly self-sabotaging myself even though I knew I was born to tell stories, to write stories and share them with the world.

I gave myself a swift kick in the behind and finished my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, and with the help of a great friends, self published the book over two years ago. I found a balance, I told myself that creativity comes first, the day job needed to be treated like a day job where I left work at work, and the only thing I took home with me were the guests that provided me with character development. The ego and I broke up and I knew it would be back, but I thought I knew what it looked like to avoid it again when it showed up like a bad boyfriend. The sad thing is, I saw ego coming back and I fell into the old routine of giving more attention to the job then creativity. It seemed the distractions were greater than my will to write. I moved to a new province, started a new job with more responsibility then I expected and started a farm. Where was the room for writing? This is where my sassy alter ego says, “Hello, writing always comes first!” Exactly. Creativity has to be my number one priority and buying Steven Pressfield’s book is one of the many steps of my true self getting back on track.

I will be sharing more of my writing journey for the next few weeks. This is how I started this blog and I must stay true to creativity. “It is my responsibility to share my great work with the world.” ~ Gabby Berstein

Thank you for being here with me today. How is your creative life? What are you doing to keep on track? I love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

On The Road Again…

It’s not what you think. We are not moving but I am moving on in the hotel life. I have given my resignation as the General Manager of the beautiful hotel I work for because I accepted a position at another hotel as their Director of Human Resources. It feels good to share this news. I am nervous and excited for the new adventure. How I stumbled upon this wonderful opportunity has to do with intention of my true self asking for what she wants and needs to maintain her creative life.

What you resist, persists

It’s been a trying year for all of us. We have been tested with the novel Covid-19 virus and maybe some of you have learned a little more about yourselves than expected. I have know a few things about myself that I need to deal with and the things that I have been resisting have persisted and showing up saying, “Hey, pay attention and deal with it!”

I was provided with a wonderful opportunity to be the General Manager of a beautiful hotel in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I have been in the hotel world for over twenty-five years, being of service is in my blood, but to my own fault, it can take over your life and in a blink of an eye. A year goes by and your true self is waiting to have her turn to speak up. She has been waiting patiently and I love her for her kindness while I have been struggling with the ego slipping in and out over the past year.

“I am grateful for this amazing opportunity that is being provided to maintain this beautiful creative life.” ~ This is my mantra I write over and over in my gratitude journal, morning pages and on top of mind, always. I am truly grateful for every opportunity that has been provided. Every experience has brought me to this very moment, here and now.

I have shared many times in my morning pages, with friends and family that I didn’t want any more responsibility in the hotel life, but I tend to take on more to help the hotel, the employees and my colleagues. My experiences have provided me to be offered positions that have provided life lessons and sometimes I have to go through the same experience to learn that life lesson to really learn it.

So, now, I have learned twice that I am not cut out to be a General Manager of a hotel, but then on the flip side, never say never. However, in this season of my life I have come to terms that I don’t want the level of responsibility that comes with being a General Manager of a hotel. My over-all well being depends on the quality of my habits. Being a GM is not easy task. I have excellent soft skills and that has helped me grow my human resources experiences. I have always been that person people come to and tell me their story. I enjoy sharing life experiences that may help someone in a similar situation to simply say, ‘you’re not alone’. The same things apply in the hotel world. Everyone starts somewhere and no one is alone in their experiences.

It wasn’t easy to tell my boss that I was leaving. I put my heart and soul into the hotel for the past year and half. I put the hotel, employees and owners a head of my own happiness. I didn’t see the repercussions of my choices until around December 2020. I wasn’t writing as much as I needed to be. I was not fully invested in either my creative life or the farm life. I was on auto pilot trying to live two separate lives, but it wasn’t working. It didn’t matter how many podcasts I listened to about leadership, setting boundaries, striving for the work-life balance that I use to preach about. I tried to reread writing reference books to get me back on track, but I was not fully invested. I was always worried and thinking about how the phone would ring on a Sunday afternoon from the hotel. I was not living my best life, how could I lead a team when I was in the ‘fake it till you make it’ mind frame for over a year. How could I be living my best life when I wasn’t happy with my choices. I simply asked the universe for some help, I remembered Julia Cameron’s commitment to creativity,

“Okay creative force, you take care of the quality, and I’ll take care of the quantity.”

I have asked creativity, once again, to help me so I am able to write the ideas that creativity is providing me. I asked, I stood back and now I am receiving with open arms the help and support that is being provided. Thank you.

I have a week off between jobs and I know I may be called by the hotel for assistance from time to time, but I am turning off my phone when I am writing because creativity deserves my time. I deserve time with creativity. I have to start practicing the quality of my habits that reflect the quality of my life. Honor myself to honor others.

Have you have a recent life change, a shift in your life plans? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Story by Senses: Touch

I enjoy participating in Instagram writing challenges and recently I have started to follow the group #writerfriendschallenge. The first time I came across them I was intrigued by the themes, structure, and writing socials. This month there is a theme about telling stories by senses. This week was about touch. The host of the group shared her interpretation about the theme and shared fifty words to describe touch and I was instantly hit by inspiration. It was like a huge light bulb went off and I heard myself saying ‘Hello, here I am!’ Here are those words:

Arid, Abrasive
Bitter, Balmy
Course, Chunky
Damp, Dry
Etched, Even
Frigid, Fragile
Gritty, Gossamer
Hollow, Harsh
Inflated, Itchy
Jagged, Jaggy
Knotty, Knitted
Level, Loose
Mild, Metallic
Narrow, Neat
Ovenlike, Oily
Parched, Padded
Quick, Quiet
Rough, Rutted
Smooth, Scorching
Thorny, Tough
Uneven, Unbreakable
Violent, Vicious
Wiry, Wrinkled
Yielding, Youthful
Zippy, Zapped

Are they not great words to describe touch? I shared with the group after someone said that touch must be something important in my memoirs. I honestly never thought about it but at that moment I said, absolutely! The words were perfect for certain areas of my memoir, for example: The smooth and crisp table cloths we placed on the tables of the main dining room overlooking the glacier-fed lake for dinner service. The frigid temperature of the walk-in fridge always had the hairs on the back of my neck tingle to get the tiramisu for the chef to garnish to place the dessert in front of many thousands of guests served. Our uniforms could never be wrinkled or uneven, they were a reflection of the type of service provided at the prestigious hotel. I was a person who happened to be in that particular burgundy skirt, white frilly blouse, and burgundy vest that was worn by many people before me and would be worn by another young woman leaving home for the first time to work for a luxury hotel on top a mountain where she would find herself.

I am having fun with the words today! I love how one writing prompt can spark a flurry of words and inspiraiton. With that, I will head off to my work in progress and get back to the story.

Thank you for being here with me today. To find out how what working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies is like, my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, please click HERE. I share my expriences about my small world being cracked open to a new world of hospitality where rules are broken and no one to answer to for staying up late to spend time with a summer crush.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Writing & Farming ~ Can you do it all?

Life is an adventure. I am one who is not afraid to say yes to opportunities. I embrace change and the end possibilities to support this creative life. My focus up to two years ago has been my writing life. I will admit that I am my own worst critic where I placed judgment on myself for continuing to work more than full time in the hospitality world and try to self-publish my first memoir. But I did it. I stayed home when friends went out to socialize. I wrote after dinner when possible. My days off were spent in my writing room. I wouldn’t surface until I needed to move the body. I was, I am dedicated to creativity and my writing life.

It will be two years in August since we moved across the country to start our farm. My hubby is the sole visionary and I support him any way I can. I do 90% of the social media, started our Newsletter, and working on a website. I am the admin support and I love that. But, I also get my hands dirty. I love harvesting spinach and leafty greens. I am no stranger to farm life. My paternal family were farmers. I helped on my grandparents farm my memoires of picking strawberries to sell and shucking peas while sitting on the porch with my grandmother make me smile. I use to walk into the chicken pen with a bucket of feed, at first I was scared with hundreds of chicks flocking towards me, but as I learned to be still and quiet, the chicks only wanted the feed. I was just the person who happened to bring them the bucket of nourishment. Running through the cornfields and playing with bunnies fill my heart with joy. As a young girl I knew I would someday live on a farm. The intention was set. Now, here I am on our five-acre property staring out the window at our 96-foot greenhouse. Thank you universe.

The first year and a half has been focused on microgreens and we are so grateful for being welcomed into the community. We provide microgreens to a health food store, a local Co-op, and a handful of restaurants, and the biggest platform, the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market. Now we have opened a farm stand at the farm on Saturday and Sundays. Now we are offering spinach, salad mixes, and rooted vegetables. We are growing to share our commitment and vision to provide fresh local produce to our community.

Where does writing fit into all of this? Very carefully. As I was committed before farm life, my writing is as important and a priority. My life is full. I recently shared this on my Instagram: I am a writer who happens to run an urban farm with my hubby and I am a manager of a hotel. This is my full and joyous life. This morning as we opened our farm stand I was also on a virtual writing session with some amazing women. I set up my laptop at the kitchen table and when someone stopped by to purchase some produce I left the writing sprint, did the farm thing and then back to the writing life. I am grateful for the understanding and support. After the writing session was over and the farm stand closed, the hotel life kicked in due to unforeseen circumstances. I jumped into action and when that moment was completed I started the laundry and opened the laptop again to get more writing done. It’s all a balance my friends. Some moments are easier and some are a struggle but it’s how you react to the situation and go with the flow. Today, i am reminded of how I can practice being in the moment more. For this, I am grateful.

There are days I don’t get to the writing life or the farm. I come home from the hotel life utterly exhausted from the level of responsibility I carry. The last thing I want to do is write, but I have to because it’s my true self. I can write my way into another life and to write my way out of the days events is the best way to honor the writing life. Last week I came home from the hotel life and went straight into the green house to harvest and bag spinach, it was relaxing and exactly what I needed to get my mind off the days events at the hotel. Please don’t get me wrong. I am truly grateful for the hotel life, it has provided me with endless opportuities that have and continue to provide me with what is needed to maintain and excel this creative life. Saying that there is room for all things I am passionate about. There is room for the writing and the farm life in-between the hotel life. It’s all how I approach it and go with the flow.

How do you juggle your days? Do you have a full-time job and a aside hustle or two? What’s your secret? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

My New Favourite Vegan Recipe

Today I’m sharing something a bit lighter than my last Covid-19 post. Covid can get a little heavy and there is no need to let the negativity of the novel virus to bring us down. In one of my recent posts on how to get happy, I shared how cooking was one of my joyful activities, cooking makes me happy at any given moment. I’m getting excited now thinking about the fresh salsa I’m going to make for our quesadillas this evening. Yum.

My hubby and I have been 85% plant based for three years and over the years I’ve been finding and preparing new plant-based/vegan/vegetarian recipes. Being plant based doesn’t mean you are eating salad every night. There are so many fantastic recipes available to try and enjoy. Recently I was introduced to Butler’s Soy Curls and now I’m obsessed with the Vegan Beef and Broccoli recipe. The link to the main recipe

This recipe is great for lunch or dinner. Once the prep is done, it is a quick meal to put together. Vegan beef and broccoli (a.k.a. Mongolian soy curls) is the perfect answer to your Chinese take-out cravings. Sweet and salty soy curls with tender broccoli and scallions with make you lick your plate clean. Thank you veganyumminess!

My hubby and I are moving closer to being 95% plant based. We have our own farm and having readily available fresh vegetables makes it easy to easy plant-based. We have so many recipes to try that we don’t miss those steak nights. Especially after the “beef” and broccoli recipe. You would never know it was not meat. We have been eating fish, but recently have made a decision to cut fish out of our diet as much as possible. This is a hard one for us because we are big sushi fans – I’m sure I’ll find a great plant based sushi roll to make. If you have any recipes please send them my way. I will defiantly try them out and write all about it. If you try the vegan beef and broccoli please let me know how you like it.

Thank you for being here with me today. Wishing you all a great day!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing..

My Covid-19 Update

It has been over a year since Covid-19 has taken over our lives. Does anyone feel that way? Not one day goes by when I don’t hear about the virus. I am feeling the Covid burnout. I may sound a little negative these days. I’m tired of hearing, hold on, we’ll get through this. I know this all will pass, but I am tired.  I wouldn’t be honoring my true self if I didn’t share that I am not always happy and the cheerleader that I share I am. This cheerleader’s pom-poms are dishevelled and ready to be tossed.

I have re-read my post from, March 30 2020, about my first dealings with Covid as a front-line worker, and how everyone was concerned about how quickly they would be getting their Covid relief money to maintain their every day life. It was a scary time for many people. Not knowing where there next pay-cheque was coming from. It’s scary. As a manager of a hotel, we are struggling to find people to work because they make more money staying on the unemployment package then working. I get it. Minimum wage for some positions is not worth working. The double edge sword is even better, the hotel and many other businesses that are hiring for both full time and part time employees because hospitality is still suffering due to the travel restrictions in New Brunswick and all over the world. It is hard to guarantee new hires full time hours because we don’t know what the occupancy will be in three weeks, let alone two months from now. Booking times have changed. The days of planning your vacations months out are gone. People are looking at booking for 2022 because maybe the virus will be behind us. However, there are no guarantees. How do you schedule for the unknown?

I wanted to share about my experiences dealing with Covid-19. They are no different than yours. We are all in this together. Some people are coping with the new normal better than others. But there are some people who are not doing okay. Mental wellness is on the rise. I thought I was doing okay until recently. I find myself a bit snappier. I haven’t left this province for months due to the Atlantic Canada borders being closed to one another. It’s difficult to go anywhere on our days off because our farm is growing, and that is amazing. We are so grateful for our farm and we doing what we said we wanted to, to provide fresh, local produce for the community. This is a positive – my cheerleader is waving her new pom-poms all around. Those who have started a farm, been in the game for a while, knows what it takes to maintain the smallest of urban farms to a full-blown farm. (Hundreds of acres of land to maintain) The one thing you can’t do is, walk away, when watering, weeding and maintenance are required on a daily basis. My husband is only one person and we moved back to the East Coast to start our own business. I am aware of this and my ego is in my face “thinking” I can do what I want and truth is, I can’t just say, let’s go away for the weekend during certain seasons. Winter will be our time to take time for ourselves. Spring through early Winter is our busy time. I am coming to terms with this. The Ego is not and I am aware. More meditation is required. More writing is definitely needed.

I started to write about my new job as a General Manager at the hotel I work for, but it started to sound like the ‘poor-me’ story. I am grateful for the amazing opportunity that is being provided to maintain this creative life. I can complain about certain aspects about the position, but really, there is not reason to complain. I have a job that provides what is needed and that is a blessing.

As I write, I see the Ego trying to bully its way into my thoughts and making me think I need to be stuck in the same story, when really, I am writing my way into another life. I am doing exactly what I need to be doing in this moment. Writing. It is amazing when you do something you love, everything negative washes away. Thank you, creativity.

Thank you for being here with me today. How are you coping with Covid-19? How do you deal with news, the overload of information, what are you doing to maintain your happiness? I would love to hear from you. Sharing helps us grow and stay connected. That is what we are here for, to support and connect.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

It’s About Getting Happy

Each month I participate in Instagram writer challenges to engage with other writers, readers, followers, and with myself. Sometimes we all need a little nudge of inspiration and when I choose the challenge to commit to, I scan the list of prompts and watch for creativity to pipe up and say ‘oh, I like some or all of the questions/prompts, let’s do it!’ I have been following #writerfriendschallenge for two months, the hosts have a wide variety of prompts that engage me, spark creativity and help me dig a little deeper with my work in progress. I consider these favorable points of interest to help grow my writing craft.

On the first day of Spring the prompt was #quoteworthy – I am big fan of quotes, all types of quotes, especially writing quotes that motivate me to write more. I have a few favorites and the one I chose to share for this days writing prompt was from Stephen King.

“In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.’

The first time I read this I remember nodding my head in agreement. Yes, life is about getting happy, but more so, as a writer, it’s about sharing and enriching readers and my own life. I get it. I underlined these words, dog eared the page and now have a sticky tab for quick reference.

Writing is a solitary job but I am happy. I am very happy with my writing life. Yes, there are days I witness the ego trying to tell me I need more time to write, I should have written and published the three books I wanted to write, already. Why can’t I write faster? Why don’t I quit my job and devote myself to my passion? Why? Why? Why? The ego can be right down nasty. The truth is raw and it comes down to my choices. I am the only one who can write my books and I am the only one who is accountable for my actions. I can throw out the ‘oh, poor me, I have a full-time job and on-call 24/7, blah, blah, blah…’ But no one is listening. No one wants to hear the excuses. I know I don’t want to hear them again. So how do I get over it and get happy?

Meditation

the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed: prayer and meditation

I pratice mindful/stillness meditation, where I focus on the breath and the stillness of the moment. I am silent. I sit and be still. It has taken years of practice and I am still learning. I find myself more content when I meditate on a regular basis. Like writing, meditation provides me with being in the moment, showing up as my true self, no hiding, just being here and now.

Walking Away

“Sometimes you have to let go to grow”. My own quote. As you may know, I am a fan of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. There is a chapter on recovering a sense of identity where she explains people in our lives who waste our time, poisonous playmates, and crazymakers. I don’t need to be associated with people who only want my attention to listening to their poor me stories. They want you to fix them but never take the advice and continue to suck your time away from what you need to be doing. I have walked away from friendships that were not good for me. I had to make a choice, my happiness, or their drama. I admit I may have played in a few people’s pools of self sabotage only for them to realize I was not helping them and they were the ones who walked away, but deep down my intention of not wanting them in my life and trying to be polite about it ended the way that was needed for me to walk away. It’s hard to break up with someone. But in the end it was about taking care of myself.

Surrounding myself with like minded people

It’s important to surround yourself with like minded people. Kindred spirits. Before moving to New Brunswick and months before the global pandemic, I lived in Victoria, BC and surrounded myself with writier friends. My tribe were people who loved writing as much as I do. We have a common theme to share in conversation. We have the same interests, fears, frustrations and joys. It is easy to talk with other writers. I may be happy with being by myself when writing, but I am very happy when I am able to sit with other writers, drinking coffee, sharing and listening about the writing process.

Woman cooking in kitchen with ingredients around her

Cooking

“When I’m not writing, I’m cooking” this is one of my tag lines as part of my creative life. I love to cook. Like writing, cooking brings me joy of preparing a meal for my hubby and I or friends and family. Cooking is being in the moment, you have to focus on chopping, mincing, preparing, mixing, and timing everything to enusre everything comes out as it should. Cooking grounds me. Writing grounds me to this very moment. I’m getting happy!

These are a few ways that help me with my happiness. I have days, as we all do, where the ego stomps on my happiness, but I am aware of these moments and I quickly pick up a pen and a notebook and write away the old behavior thoughts. As Ann Patchett said, I will write my way into another life. I love this image – I am writing my way to my true life, the creative life.

How are your getting happy? What works for you? I love hearing from you.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Sharing Snippet: Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Resort Life

Hello everyone. Thank you for stopping by today. Each month I am going to try and share a snippet from my second memoir in the series of, Behind The Kitchen Doors. This memoir is about the last year working at Chateau Lake Louise and moving to Jasper Park Lodge. Both luxury hotels and resorts in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. This is a work in progress and as I share it helps me work out timelines and memories. Writing memoir is lonely, but I am not alone. I am right here on the page and that fills me with joy.

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Fast Romance

Like everything in hospitality, things move fast, guests coming and going, servers flipping tables for the next seating. Chef’s chopping, prepping, plating. Housekeeping cleaning rooms, front desk checking in and checking out people on a rotation. Romance was no different.

The start of any romance between employees seemed to be on a tilt-a-world ride, get on and hold on for dear life because it’s going to be a bumping ride.

I had my eye on Anthony, for weeks. I knew he was single because there was talk about how he dumped the Poppy Café, family restaurant, chick because she couldn’t stop doing cocaine. She begged him to stay with her, or said the rumor mill. What intrigued me was Anthony’s morals. What I didn’t know was his mother was a user. When he was a kid, he watched his mother and step father be taken away by the police for possession. He lived his with grandmother for a bit and when he moved back in with his mother things were normal. Or so said the rumor mill.

It’s awful when people share initiate conversations with their lovers to their drunken friends who embellish the story.

Anthony and I started off slow then quickly were inseparable. I was such a geek when I told him that my dad sent me Keith’s from home. He implied to save him one, he would love to spend time with me.

            Sis: Oh-okay.

            Marion Ann: Why are my knees shaking.

            Sis: He’s hot.

            Marion Ann: Too hot for me.

            Sis: No way – get on that.

Anthony was good-looking. He was tall, gorgeous and had charm. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He fit in at the Lake perfectly.

            Sis: You just didn’t want to see it.

            Marion Ann: How could I get past those eyes.

            Sis: So blue.

            Marion Ann: So blue.

Anthony’s eyes were that baby crystal blue color, Paul Newman style, how could I resist.

Over the next week Anthony and I missed each other. He left me notes on my door, ‘I knocked and no one was home…”

After work I would head to the pub but I never saw him. When he was at the pub I was working and vise versa. On my days off I spent time in Banff, I needed to get away from the Lake, the nightly routine of working until 10:00 pm then rushing home to change to hit the staff pub, Stables, to buy three or four drinks to have before last call was becoming tiresome.

            Sis: We seemed to be saying this often.

            Marion Ann: It was the only thing to do.

            Sis: I’m sure I can think of something else.

            Marion Ann: I know.

 I was aware I could have been writing instead of sitting in staff pub drinking my tips away. But I was enjoying myself. I liked sitting around talking wit friends. We bitched about guests, supervisors and each other. It was the way to decompress the constant feeling of being on. Smiling for six hours a night, being perky, being positive, bullshit conversations about football because it was an easy Segway to talk to most Americans.

When I left my tables to head to the kitchen, I would lose the smile and go into prep mode for my food orders. I sensed how the rest of my team was doing, everything was about timing, one missed minute could throw me into the weeds, where it would take more time to get back to a smooth service. It was better to be on top of the service than saunter around thinking everything would work out.

Serving was about time management, multi-takings, having several sets of eyes on your tables, the bar, the kitchen and the reservation book.

If the kitchen got behind the whole team was screwed. We would be waiting on any given coarse and there was nothing we could say. The Chef would be yelling at the cooks to move faster, then the servers to pick up the food even faster. It was a nightmare. There were not many nights like this but when it happened, it felt like the whole world sucked you in and spit you out with a broken soul.

One night I had a tour in the upper section of the Edle, the fine dining room at Lake Louise. Think of a sunken living room, with five steps up from the main floor. This section was not used often because going up those four small stairs took an extra minute of time that set me back to attend to my tables on the main floor. It doesn’t sound like it should be difficult, but think of it this way.

In a typical one-bedroom apartment, think you are entertaining all your guests in the living room, then another few people show up and there is no room, so you offer the bedroom area that is about twenty steps away. Then four more people show and they are seated in the bedroom. Twenty steps away from your main guests now seems like running a mile. You are now running from your living room to the bedroom to make sure that everyone is taken care of. Touch each table, does anyone need a refill on their wine, beer, scotch, and water? Are the appetizers going to be ready to go out to the table in the bedroom at the same time as the entrees for the first table that arrived sitting in the living room? It’s a juggling act that I saw as a Tetris game, each piece had its place and would fit perfectly if you did all the right things at the perfect timing. Until one of your table’s orders a flambe for dessert.

            Sis: Shit.

Flambes were my favourite dessert to offer to tour guests because it was an additional ten dollars at the guest’s expense. Their four-course dinners that were part of their meal plan included a regular dessert, ice cream, cheesecake, tiramisu, the basics. Flambes had many moving parts, liquor, fresh fruit, crepes, a flambee cart, and fire. Every tour guest agreed to the additional cost and that possibly meant more money for me.

I either could lie to the guests and tell them that the all the carts were being used and there would be a wait, which would be more time for me, or, I would ask for help from the captain server or I would attempt to take on the show and lose time with my other tables.

This time I asked for help. I couldn’t afford to get out of sync with the tour. I would be making the same amount of money. The tour was guaranteed grats. There may be the ten dollars upsell on the flambee but no guarantees on an additional tip.  

Everything happened quickly in the F&B world. You had to keep up or fall behind.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this snippet. You can find my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, HERE.

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.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…