wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Guest Blogger: Anneli Purchase and Her Latest Book “Marlie”

My friend Marlie would love to show you some of the photos of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) where she taught at the elementary school. You might think teaching isn’t a very outdoorsy job but her new friends take her out and about to see the islands. She learns that in beauty lies danger.

Luanne Castle's Writer Site

My name is Marlie Mitchell. That’s me on the cover of Anneli’s book.


Anneli’s friend Jan Brown painted my portrait. She made my hair a bit wilder than it really is, but I do have trouble keeping it tamed. Jan certainly got my eyes right. One shows the hurt I’ve felt, and the other shows my determination to pick myself up and be strong.

You see, I had great plans to teach young children and build a happy life with a husband and maybe a couple of kids of my own. Hah! That dream went down the toilet almost before I got started. Everything in my life seemed to go wrong.

I was the perfect candidate for an escape to a remote teaching post in the Queen Charlotte Islands, now called Haida Gwaii, off the coast of northern British Columbia.

Many of my students lived in poor homes in Haida…

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The Superpower of Attitude

For those of you who don’t know about my second blog site, dedicated to writers, writing, books, and reading, I invite you to visit annelisplace.wordpress.com and click to follow it if you like what you see.

Anneli's Place

I’d like to introduce my guest, Diana Wallace Peach, author of several novels and now author of her first children’s book. Diana has a wonderful attitude towards life, which I’m happy to let her share with you.

Welcome Diana.

My daughter wasn’t a morning person as a three-year-old. Instead of simply picking out her clothes for the next morning, she’d wear her outfit to bed. Anything to avoid the ordeal of dressing in the morning. Mornings were miserable and teary, and they set the tone for a miserable, teary day.

One morning we sat on her bed, and I suggested that we use her superpowers to change her day. Well, that intrigued her. So together we said the magic words. “I’m going to have a great day.” We said it over and over again, louder and louder, and guess what? She had a great day. Was her routine different than…

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Beach Fishing, Anyone?

I would feel safe enough fishing from a little skiff. I wouldn’t mind the mystic, misty fog that will burn off later in the day.

But going ashore to fish from the beach has given me pause. All sorts of dangers lurk there, right next to those horse clams that squirt water through their siphons like a mini fire brigade.

Remember them, squirting water into the air? Well, just look what is going on behind their backs.What if I’d been standing on the beach fishing, and it turned out to be the bruin’s favourite fishing spot? I think I’d stay in the skiff, thank you.

But worse yet, what if you heard wolves howling the night before, you go to the beach to fish in the morning and a friend calls over to tell you he just saw a wolf running away. You go to explore, and find that wolves have taken down a good-sized deer.

A pack of wolves would tear at the hide, pulling it right off the hind quarters to get at the meat under it. I apologize to the squeamish readers, but this is real life and death–the kind of thing we Disney fans deny ever happens, when in fact it is going on all the time. It must go on. Wolves have to eat too. But you’ll excuse me if I’m not overly in love with wolves or want to transplant them to every part of the country.

Next time I’ll post something sweet and not too real. I know that for many of you this is hard to look at. I didn’t like it myself, but it’s real, it’s true, and it’s happening out there in the real world.

No, I wasn’t there that day, but the Captain was. He took these pictures.


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Losing It

Did you ever do something really stupid that made you wonder if old age is setting in early? I did! Today! I think I’m losing it!

We have a lot of windows in our house and they were in dire need of a cleaning after a winter of storms. I had been cleaning a few at a time over the last week, using a spray bottle of Windex, paper towels, and sometimes a squeegee.

Today I had a lot of things on my “To Do” list, so I rushed to get started. I grabbed the Windex and the paper towels and started on the living room windows.

I was surprised how much of a film remained on the window pane after I sprayed them and wiped them with the paper towel. I put it down to having neglected the job for too long, and rubbed harder with the towel so the panes finally came out clear. Emma’s nose prints on the glass didn’t help any. She likes to stick her nose into the window pane when she sees birds or rabbits in the yard outside.

In case you’re wondering why I have a photo of two spray bottles, it’s to show how similar the Windex bottle is to the one I accidentally grabbed in its place.

I had been cleaning my windows with Febreze! No wonder the panes were a bit filmy. But at least there is no doggie smell anywhere near the windows.

It’s easy enough to grab the wrong bottle when you’re in a hurry and don’t have your glasses on.  The Captain says I’d never be able to get a job as a caregiver. I’d have the residents keeling over from getting the wrong medicine.


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Julia’s Violinist: A Story of Love, Courage, Survival

Lori Greer in Portland

I miss Julia.

Sometimes my need to know the “rest of the story” competes with not wanting to let the main character go by finishing a book.

I can be almost finished with a book but find that I have to force myself to read the final chapter.

This is the case with Julia, the main character in Julia’s Violinist.

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Bags, Bags, Bags

I promised I would share what we made at the quilting retreat. I’m very much a beginning quilter, so I hesitate to show what I was working on. But the saying goes, “Save the best for last,” so I thought I’d start with my own project(s) and work up to what some of the experts sewed in another post.

I still have plenty of scraps to work with so I brought the cut out squares and strips with me to the retreat. I only broke two needles this time, sewing through the heavy layers in the corner seams. Less than one needle per bag. Getting better!

Future bags may be a variation of these, maybe with squares on the bottom too. Not sure yet.

What are they good for? In my case, I use one of these bags as a purse because they hold a lot (of my important junk). Most other people might use them to carry books to their book club meeting, carry slippers to a friend’s house when they go to dinner and want to change shoes, carry a camera and a notebook for a hike or photo outing, carry a sandwich and a bottle of water — the list is endless. It just depends on your lifestyle and special needs and hobbies.

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Some people at the retreat made much fancier bags than these and it got me thinking about finding new designs for my next bags.

Meanwhile, I made the top layers of two coffee table “runners.” I’ll do a post about those when I get the batting and backing on them and finish quilting the layers together.

In the next post I hope to show you some of the projects the expert quilters worked on. Their sewing skills are amazing.


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Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Chapter One

It’s easy to laugh at someone else when they do something silly, forgetful, or just plain stupid. I don’t think there’s any harm in it as long as the “someone” is laughing too. Then you’re laughing “with” them rather than “at” them.

On a weekend fishing trip one summer, Gary and I had fished for trout on the lake and stopped to stretch our legs on a gravelly beach at the mouth of a creek that fed into the lake.

IMGP0664After a while, a fish jumped and made quite a big splash at the mouth of the creek. Gary grabbed his flyrod and cast towards the ripples the fish had left.

Fishing [1]

The fish was a tease, jumping repeatedly, just out of reach. No problem, high gumboots meant Gary could wade into the water and get closer.

But not quite close enough. Gary is a good flyline caster but still, the fly landed just a little bit short each time.

“Aw…darn,” he said. “My boot has a leak. Oh well, might as well go in a bit farther. I’m already wet. I think I can get close enough. Darn it all! Should’ve brought my waders.”

Wading outfit

Persistence paid off, and the fish was hooked and released. Now for a well-deserved rest on the gravel bed. The rocks warmed the fisherman with the wet pants and sopping wet feet.

As he lay down on the gravel to soak up some warmth, I took his photo and noticed….

Two left feet up close

Not only was there a split in the bottom of one boot — the cause of the leak — but the boots were for two left feet. Somewhere at home in the garage were boots for two right feet.

Chapter Two

This may seem to be a whole other topic, but I assure you the chapters are related.

I have troublesome feet, so I wear orthotic inserts. I also have had trouble finding comfortable shoes, so when I discovered some Brooks runners that fit my feet comfortably, I bought them and wore them happily nearly every day. At last they started to look slightly worn. I went back to the same store and bought exactly the same thing again. Well, they were ever so slightly different in colour, but basically the same shoe. One would be my good pair and the other the “beater” pair. See the “beaters” below.

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For now, until I would get a second pair of orthotic inserts, I put my orthotics into the shoes I wore most often (the beater pair). Last summer I bought a pair of Costco Dr. Scholl inserts as spares for the time being and put them in my new runners.

The other day I put on my shoes to go out. The left one was a bit tight, so I loosened the laces. That was better. I was going to loosen the right shoelace as well, but then I realized that, although it was snugly laced, it was comfortable as it was.

“Hmm…I wonder why that is.” My right foot should be bigger if anything, and a tighter squeeze, so why is that shoe more comfortable?” I put my weight on one shoe and  then the other. Definitely, the right shoe felt better on my feet. I had a closer look. You can take a look too. Do you see what I see?

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When I discovered what I was wearing, I went looking for my other pair of runners. In the garage was a pair of Brooks, as mismatched as the ones on my feet, but my mumbled “OMG” got louder when I discovered that the “odd couple” in the garage had the Costco Dr. Scholl’s inserts in them. Remember, I had bought these inserts months ago, so if there was one Dr. Scholl’s in each of these shoes, they must have been like this since last summer.

Gradually a growing horror dawned on me. I had been wearing mismatched shoes since last summer and this is now almost December! I thought of all the places I had been and the homes where I visited and took my shoes off at the door.I had even been to the doctor to get a referral for new orthotics!  “OMG! OMG! OMG!”

It must be my punishment for laughing at Gary’s two left feet.