This is my consumer product story.  I am not one to return items to stores or complain to retailers too often;  i did have to with a Ninja blender purchased at Canadian Tire recently. We used the 'Magic Bullet' for years to blend our shakes. Once our last bullet expired  we decided that we would try the Ninja blender.  The first time we pushed the power button and hit blend it was incredibly loud.  I put a padded placemat under it to tone down the volume. It sounded very much like the revving up of a motorcycle. I complained out loud that this was an overly dramatic blender.  My husband liked the power and wider container to pour his foodies in it so he was content.  It did blend well though!

 After about 6 weeks the motor was going on it.  My husband exchanged it for  a new one with the warranty at Canadian Tire  The clerk told him they didn't have anyone coming back about these Ninjas. They were a really good highly recommended model.

 We plugged in the new replaced blender and created a shake the next day.  It sounded calmer.  It worked for about a month and then one morning I was still half awake in bed and I could hear this sound.  Husband pushing Ninja button and then the dull effort of the Ninja blender motor saying "no i am done I can't do this anymore" !  For further detail on this exciting blender journey,  my husband puts the same thing into his protein shake every single morning.  The ingredients are milk, banana, strawberries, orange juice, protein powder.  Every single morning he puts these same 5 ingredients. He does not waiver.  He is very consistent.

 Well here was my opportunity to take this blender back and get something different.  I found the receipt and I went to Canadian Tire.

I have a very determined nature and sometimes if I am returning an item I get quite anxious that they will reject my return.  I don't know why it's always been that way.  I have been learning to return items that stop working or to question the manufacturer about the item that is not up to par for the price I paid this past year and with great success.  That morning I must of been not wanting to exchange this and didn't feel like going there but I did and I was very clear to the clerk and I did it in a pleasant way.  I said " this motor has stopped working it would not blend this morning and it is the second one in 3 months I would like to exchange it for a different one, please"  I think I said please?
She said "Okay ...all right";  I handed her the receipt and it was warrantied up still so I wandered over to the blender section and perused the appliances.  I picked out a Black and Decker blender with extra bottles for smoothies or protein shakes.  While I was making my selection at the other end of the store I could hear this blender noise.  The clerk had started up my Ninja I left with her and it was working beautifully.  I thought to myself "I still want my exchange".    "It was not working this morning"!

I reappeared at her counter with the Ninja blender roaring.  I said "I see that it is working now.  However, it would not this morning and we noticed the motor deteriorating a few days ago.  I do not want a Ninja anymore".  She refunded some money back to me as this new blender was on sale so it was a big win for me.   She graciously said a thank you and goodbye to me.  I then looked at her and so "no, I thank you"!

I had forgotten to return one blender cup from the Ninja and noticed it when I unloaded the dishwasher later that day.  (guilty feeling).  Thanks Canadian Tire for supporting your products!

For most people it seems this is a common thing to do.  Return or exchange items purchased.  For myself I do it only when the item is of high value to me and/or  over $50 or more.  I just had
to write about this common exchange to feel grateful for this retailer that must deal with complaining customers frequently.  I am sending a thank you card to the store as a general thank you for their services.

Oh and by the way I do love my Black and Decker blender/smoothie appliance.  Nice and quiet!

Essay #7
May 26, 2017


A horse training clinician, quite world renowned, ended his life on March 22, 2017.  This is a mind blower, like my son Graham.   Peter (his first name only) ended it  on a side road after his clinic and possibly was pulling a couple of horses?.  This is too much. I pray for Trina, his wife and his personal close friends, his family.  These people kew him in a close personal way.  Such a gift Peter had left all of us.  He was done though.  He didn't know how to perfectly stop the influx of clinics and people always on his path.  The connections were getting too him.  He needed to do something for himself.  He was a Type 4 man.  How bold to do what he did.  The heart of Peter was very hurt.  He could no longer keep up the pace.  The long endless travels on the road.  His perception of himself was poor.  He was not a confident man.  Peter was his own authority.  He was a secondary type 3.  (living your truth energy profiling here).  I will have to look at his face and hands and smile lines again.  Was he an upward light person  No, he was a very well thought out deep thinking man with a purpose to perfect the riding of horses and teaching others to ride well.   
I am writing about Peter, because I knew him only a little.  The Legacy of Legends in Fort Worth Texas was my first intro to this man.  He opened a door for me and the look on his face was patient and bright.  He did not ignore me when I was with Brian either.  He acknowledged me with his kind face while talking with my spouse.  I cannot and don't want to understand this.  I do understand it  It is an ugly place and the hole is too dark.  It keeps you with Satan, if you have a faith in the bible readings.  He would not reach out to people for help for himself.  His authoritative nature kept him a very lonely man.  I remember sitting on the steps eating my meal last year at the Whitta ranch at Russell MB and Peter was sitting there on the deck.  I did not acknowledge him.  I am so shy.  I do not trust my intuitions confidently.  This man needed time alone where he felt comfortable.  The perfect world of creating these clinics for years and years could not serve him any more.
It helps to write about this it takes this action off my mind and onto paper.  I have no option but to understand something about this death.  Graham has taught so much.

Essay #6
March 24 2017


My entry form to the "Yorkton StorySlam Night" held in October has been accepted.   I wanted to be one of the 10 story tellers so I entered really early.   Nervous, but excited to go for it I quickly filled out the small form and submitted. 

Yorkton started up StorySlam last year.  I attended as a listener because I knew I wanted
to some day get up and tell a 5 minute story.  It has to be original and unpublished.  I'm in!

"I am the early-bird" was the e-mail reply.  I am excited to be enrolled.  Now the fun begins.  I knew what this was all about and here is why. 

What is a StorySlam? They are  a live storytelling competition in the vein of poetry slams organized by The Moth, a non-profit literary society from New York, since 2001. Storytellers (slammers) have 5 minutes each to tell a story, based on a theme chosen for the event.

I believe Edmonton, Alberta has StorySlam nights as well.

I connected with Jen Lee, story teller and New York writer through this blog many years ago.  Jen is a NYC writer but also a story teller and tells her stories at the Moth StorySlam in New York City and does so quite frequently.  She is very soft spoken.  When I first heard her talk on a podcast and then heard her on You Tube I thought she should speak louder. Her voice is like a tiny little girl. With her talent for great depth and innocent subtle humour, I realized that  listening to her story was a huge part of her talent.   I think she has a gift, along with a uniqueness in her soft subtle speaking voice. 

In 2009 I started her on-line courses from her website. I lapped up all she provided and had to say and I started writing  First, though my dilemma was how do I get words onto a blank page?  It freaked me out!  I wanted to write so badly.  When I used to look at a blank page, it was such a foreboding stark white square just waiting for something to hit it with ink.  It was intimidating.

I would listen to her poetry on purchased CD's, picked up little books of prose written by her. I loved her depth her soft fine voice filtering into me.  I had a lot of saddness in my soul and this was one way to bring it out of me.  So I listened to her many times, many podcasts, a few of her journals were bought and I filled them with words from her quick little side notes on her blank pages that I was meant to fill.    

My entry title to my story is "A Sometimes Rocky Road".  That is all I have down so far.
They requested you put a title down.  So there it is.  I know what it is going to be about.
If I can get someone to video me telling it in October I will post it on my blog here.  The story will be about horseback riding.  The adventure takes place, and it was an adventure, on our previous acreage in Swift Current and the short ride I had all by myself with my eldest son's horse "Rocky".  It was quite a ride full of emotion and guts on my end of it and dominance and control on Rocky's side of this adventure.  That short ride was a short courageous battle.  
A purpose to write and to speak on my  writing brings back junior high school public speaking memories  of being in the auditorium and in the classroom, telling my story.  I loved doing that!  So here I am now, as an adult working on a story, an original and unpublished story of my own.

Stay tuned, if not, I will remind you when it is happening, this story time event.  A post on this website and FB and Instagram will show up just before the date.

Essay #5
Feb 11, 2017


Anne Fadiman’s book of essays called Ex Libris - Confessions of a Common Reader. and Davy Rothbart’s - My Heart is an Idiot are starting points for me in writing essays, as I mentioned previously.

 I really liked Anne Fadiman’s book.

Anne is a journalist and essayist and raised from a family of readers from her grandparents to her parents. You can google her. I really enjoyed this book of writing far more than Davy Rothbart’s.  Glad I did read both though. Anne Fadiman  allowed her children to play with books.  I mean building with actual volumes of books instead of legos, turning page corners, putting sticky fingers on them. Books are not to be intimidating or feared! Books are to be used and enjoyed.  She is not one to shelve her books in a glass bookcase .

I have always loved stories and reading.  My grandmother used to read stories to me from Reader’s Digest books.  My grandma was a school teacher at the small town of Bredenbury here in Saskatchewan. She was of Scottish heritage and a spendthrift.

I absorbed books, just by touching the pages, smelling the paper, enjoying any photos and diagrams too.  I will share a book secret with you.  When I want to pause reading a book to return to later, I break the rules by not closing the book, just  flipping it over to lay it down.Their it will rest until I return.  The book knows then that I am coming back to it.  If I close it with a bookmark,  it is closed and seems final and I may not come back to it.  Sounds strange.  I do try not to break the books spine and am very careful.

My love of words and learning how to throw them easily into a paragraph or sentence is my craving. Anne Fadamin’s vocabulary is very advanced.  I finally pulled out my ratty old style Webster’s dictionary paper copy from high school. Her words did not show up in my Kobo e-reader dictionary.  I think because in one chapter she was using words that she read about from a book that used words from way back in the 1900’s.  I could not find any of these words in the dictionary.  For example here is a word for you; grimoire.? This word defines as a book of magic spells.  How about opopanax ? I couldn’t locate it in my Webster's internet dictionary or my paperback copy.  Anne did explain that she tested some well-read professionals on 22 of those words and they guessed at most and some they thought they knew.

My husband couldn’t believe I am reading at that level.  He considers himself  very well versed in our english language. He is.  He was questioning the author and why so much of the showy words.

I never imagined myself sponging up the Old Testament either.  I did and every word of it.  It took me several months.  Enjoyed the names of the people and the sorrows and gifts endowed and harshness of the beliefs and thoughts back then.   Presently our world is learning to live in a grey zone of in-between; not just black and white 'this way and only this way' perspectives.  We are hearing and know all about the other countries economics more so than ever before.   I felt completely satisfied after I was done reading the Old Testament.  So many colourful adventures.  I can have a deep focus when it is important to me.

Honestly, to be forthright,  I read the Old Testament to find out about my son’s method of death, hoping for a mention of it  anywhere in that black bible.  From it I did not receive a black and white confirmation so it was not a direct answer but I understood and know that God does make good from bad things.  He will make good from disasters and chaos.  He is here to pick up the pieces, not necessarily to always prevent things.  So I hang onto that.  I am writing very simply about this but it is not, of course.  The bible can be so misinterpreted because it writes directly about what is right and wrong, and then it writes about the human nature and how He deals with imperfections of the people through actual events.  I have surmised the bible being transferred  to the English language from Hebrew, Greek transcripts.   This supposedly a solid interpretation from writers back then and presently us reading it can get miscripted if not studied as it should.  Old Testament reads from different words or phrasing to explain truth.  We are not familiar with that way of writing now.

My books this year on my shelf are;  Life after Life by Kate Atkinson and The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.  These are the book club reads selected from our local library’s book club so far this year.

Some books are spot on in teaching me about others’ lives and some books I have hated the writing and not completed.  For educational purposes the all time best book ever I have read is:…..drum roll, What Happy People Know  by Dr. Dan Baker it was published in 2004 and it really assisted me in understanding grief and how it can be worked through.

Loving that I have so much delicious time to be a bookworm now.

Essay #4
Jan 31, 2017

FB and Instagram is showing strong posts on concerns regarding our new President 45.  The Womens' March yesterday.  The walking billboards and petition signs describing impressive short verses, inscriptions of rhyme for the bubbling angst and unrighteousness so many expressed.  It took only one wealthy powerful individual to force the unnecessary gender hurts together in a North American peaceful protest.  I was caught up with a rush of "peace not war" eruptions inside and I am sharing a few here:

Please Do Not Feed The Fears (Bears).  The Future is Female.  Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.  We The People Are Greater Than Our Fears.  Womens' Rights are Human Rights. Love Not Hate Makes America Great.  Love Comes In All Colors.

My thoughts and yes, my fears of a strong cord of injustice uprising that American women demonstrated is the reason for this  5:30 a.m  dark winter morning writing.   I am not normally up that early.  The force of all the amazing connections to just plan that march shows promise.  I tend towards a low political interest and not one to voice strongly any points of view,  I find politics loud and direct and uncaring with all the world's social media abominations tiring.

This essay and hopefully more that I will write, is an integral part of my maturity.  I tend to go towards humour and short quips of writing.  I am concerned now, absolutely, of the outcome and days ahead.   A small speck of hope and dignity was noticed at the Inaugural Ball footage on Jan 20th. President 45 and his stunning wife started their dance to the song "My Way" and as the cameras drew a very personal closeness of President 45 and the First Lady, I sensed a spark of respect? The President gently entwined his fingers in hers halfway through the dance.  It was surprising but yet it shouldn't be.  I think it was a reassurance possibly him looking for a stronger grip, showing gentleness, just a little?  I didn't consider either of them could keep a rhythm to that music and thought they must of had a dance lesson or 2 previously, for just this moment.  Was the President enjoying the closeness of a women without sarcasm, roughness, al?  He loved the song.

Yes, this is who he is, a man with money behind him and forceful verbiage  of his opinions which now are no longer opinions, he is the President for 4 years.  For the love for his wife and family I pray courageously for the United States and the citizens to keep their hearts and minds tuned in every day and find more ways to have a voice without actions becoming volatile.  It takes planning and connecting with like-minded individuals who put forth the Womens' March.  I admire that.

Canada is open, bold, beautiful country but I don't and not ever believed that it has been said or
felt that it is "Canada First" mentality.  President 45 shares his vision of "America First"!.  That disturbs me.

As one petitioner in scripted on his sign "WE SHALL OVERCOMB"!  Go America!

Essay #3
Jan 22, 2017

13 years ago, to be exact that would be January 15, 2004 a bad choice this handsome son of mine made.  This is an essay I write today that is not one I thought I could ever write.

He was 18.  It is Graham's death.  It has taught me how much a mother can really hurt and love.   I am emotional still and time has healed my methods of constant striving to grieve with less and less pain.  The hurt and love is there forever.  The understanding of it fluctuates each January 15th.

My surmise of who was he and what was he really like is complex and contradictory.  His nature was always to be un-talkative.  He had a hearing loss and even after his hearing aids were fitted in his ears at age 2;  he still didn't like to make sounds.  Graham was sensitive but he was very courageous beyond his years.  I think his level of bravery always surpassed his years of experience.  His relations with a friend or two was minimal and he got upset easier than I accepted or understood.  His character and nature was sensitive and a great smile defined him. 

He had a strong message to send to the people around him.  I think it was just this:
be patient, be clear and keep peace in the family.  There was a friend Graham hung out with in junior high who really was a gentle kind boy and liked hanging out with him.  They both were at a church retreat and at nighttime they each held a candle around the campfire.  I believe he accepted God at that moment.  That's all I know.  Graham came back and talked about that night holding the candle and praying maybe or just being silent while the flame flickered on.  Powerful moment(s) if you can sense and visualize about that night around the campfire holding a small flickering candle. 

 He socialized best playing card games.  His speech in 4-H was spectacular in high school.  It was February and 4-H had a speech contest.  Graham talked about the cards and the game of Rummy.  Clear as a bell he spoke.  No hearing loss or speech impediment during this speech.  Eyes were on him and he had the floor.  Everyone was patient because it was time to listen to speeches.  That is all he wanted.  Patient enough to hear him talk but only when he had something he knew well enough to speak about.  Deep thinking, strong physical body, smiled wide to let people know he was being patient with them.  Laughed only when he was thoroughly being entertained.

My relationship with him was  enjoyable because he liked to camp, sleep in tents, and just "be" and sit.  He loved to throw a fishing line out for hours and hours into the water.  I could never get him away from that. The 3 of us Dad, his brother and I would always be waiting in the vehicle for him to finally leave the water and show up with his tackle box and put it on the backseat saying" man, that was so much fun!"

 He had an agreeable nature and came to me only when he needed advice and that was not often. He had challenges as an adolescent but frowned heavily on alcohol.  A few times Brian and I got a lecture about liquor.  He knew about the danger of chemical drugs.  He was very righteous about smoking and did not like it when other people were smoking around him.  He had his standards and boundaries.

Here is my favourite picture of Graham with his first horse Otis.  Horses was his focus when he turned 16.

I have his 2nd horse Rocky to keep me company when I really miss Graham.  When Rocky passes on I will replace it with another horse, but it still won't be the same.  

I, myself, am no longer fearful
his brother, Tommy, is courageous and strong enough
for all of us. 

in peace and harmony and
patience and kindness

Essay #2
January 15 2017


Can I write an essay about an adventure? Can I write without posting a photo?

I am reading short essays from the author Davy Rothbart.  It's just essays.  He talks about his travel sojourns.  Some of my travels have been funny and frustrating.   Out of control eating would be one. Stopping at a gas station for cheesies and potato chips; which is so great when I am travelling alone.  I remember all the times I indulged and gorged myself with those.  My favourite junkies. Chips and Cheesies (Hawkins brand only).

Yes what about the off road stops to use the washroom outdoors.  Many times I have done that travelling alone or with my spouse. Turning off the highway to a turkey trail road with some trees or a single bush of trees or a single tree depending on the urgency and desperation. A single tree works as best it can.   Pee stops and junkies' snacks tackled all by myself.  No one to frown at me or check my blood sugar reading; enjoying it absolutely.  So why am I a Type 2 diabetic?  Other people do the same kind of indulgent snacking and binging? (just thinking out loud)

I am cold and would like to be warm so it makes me think back to the good old times of being an independent roadster when it is not winter.  It is -40 something right now and only 10:20 a.m.

The book of essays I am talking about with the author Davy Rothbart is called "My Heart is an Idiot"  it is quite roughshod and extremely well written book of essays.  I wouldn't actually recommend this book.  I got it off of Elizabeth Gilbert's (Eat Pray Love author) list of her favourite books on her shelf.  Davy Rothbart appears to be just writing about his free spirited travel adventures which is a lot wilder and looser than mine would be I am pretty sure.

Have you noticed?  I am attempting a story. I am writing an essay.  Here it is. The worst of course is when there is no toilet paper.  Sometimes I feel like I have to pee out a lake and I am in a hurry because someone might see me or come up a road from that farm house or barn ahead.

Relief and I have reached my destination.  Only one large bag of Lay's salt and vinegar bag gone and two off-road washroom breaks.  A great road trip.  I don't have to rush into my hostesses/host's house and charge to the bathroom and then come out and feel very hungry hoping they will feed me soon.

Yes I am feeling good!

Essay #1
 January 2017


wordsartlife said...

Donna, I appreciate your writings. Your essay about your son, Graham, brought me to tears. I cannot imagine how one can survive the death of a child. I admire your strength and love and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. You are an amazing woman and it is a privilege to read about your journey. ~ xo, Cathy

Donna said...

I wouldn't wish this to happen to anyone and writing helps release emotion i wouldn't otherwise share verbally. Thanks for commenting Cathy!

Carol said...

Hi Donna, I really enjoyed reading your essays and the writing about Graham brought me to tears as well. Your courage and strength is amazing! I still think of Graham and will always remember him as the boy with the wonderful big smile, a heart of gold, a kind and gentle soul with an amazing connection with horses. He will live on in our hearts forever! Hugs to you all in Kirkville!

Donna said...

Hi Carol
thanks for your memory of Graham and his time with horses. I was not around much when he rode in clinics and with Brian in the beginning; so to hear what he was like from you is very meaningful. thank you for sharing!

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