Columns

Dear Barb—Sibling (Re)Connections

Dear Barb: Hi, I enjoy reading your weekly column.  I am in my late thirties and have been working on my degree for 10 years.  That seems like a long time, but I am a single mom who also works full time, so haven’t had a lot of time to focus on it.  That’s what… Read more »

Homemade is Better—Camp Like a Champ

I love camping; it’s one of the reasons my kids are in Scouting.  I remember camping as a Cub Scout, and a Scout leader showed us how to make bacon and eggs in tinfoil over coals in a firepit.  I have talked about this experience up a few times to my kids, and, recently, I… Read more »

The Creative Spark—Make an Unforgettable Scene

Every scene we write in fiction should start with a goal—a desire—and end with a prize not quite won.  Why end with a partial prize or no prize won at all?  Well, imagine you’re the hero.  We want your dream to come true.  And if you’re putting in effort to chase that dream, scene after… Read more »

Top Four Considerations Before Getting a Dog

After looking for many months for a rescue dog, I finally received a phone call from a lady who was planning on letting her one-year-old husky go. I was ecstatic and drove all the way across the province to pick my new companion up. The first week has been an incredibly exhausting, rejuvenating, and blissful… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Canada In a Day

Our Canada can be seen as a metaphor for the many possibilities bound within a single human organism.  To be the True North, strong and free, rather than limited and insular, means to accept not only differences of culture but also differences of belief.  It takes all types, all colours, all cultures, and all epistemologies… Read more »

Beats from the Basement—James Ehnes

Album: Homage Artist: James Ehnes The last time I received a physical album was on my sixteenth birthday.  Aware that I was still studying violin performance, one of my family friends gave me Brandon-born violinist James Ehnes’ Homage to enjoy and gain inspiration from. Unlike most artists who release albums to commercialize their music, Homage… Read more »

Dear Barb—The Gay Son

Dear Barb: I think my 10-year-old son may be gay.  He is my only child and I had hopes of him marrying and having children, but now it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.  I’ve been seeing the signs for the last few years, but I kept hoping I was wrong.  I am… Read more »

Five New Hobbies to Start During COVID-19

Musical hobbies: Having taken piano lessons at a young age, I’ve always been a fan of self-expression at the piano.  It was a chance to be distanced from the bustle of everyday life and connect with myself.  I found that even at the most anxious and stressful moments, I have always found solace in playing… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—How About a Little Music

Music soothes the savage beast, goes the old aphorism, and when we need a study break nothing quite beats a little rocking it out and dancing it up courtesy of our favourite genre.  Ambient soothing auras can be an auditory study buddy and so can more in-your-face lyricisms.  A question I have, though, is where… Read more »