Category Archives: personal

Summer 2014: A Reading and Writing Retrospective

We may have been basking in some gorgeous summer-like weather lately, but classes have begun and that means we are well and truly into fall. It had been very quiet around campus — though I find the hush kind of dreary sometimes, I’d gotten used to it, and I’ve been feeling kind of cranky at the […]

Next Week in My Classes: Beginning My 20th Year

I started teaching at Dalhousie in 1995-96, which means that 2014-15 will be my twentieth academic year at the university. What with maternity leaves and sabbaticals, that doesn’t mean 40 consecutive terms (though for many years I did also do summer teaching), but that’s still a long time to be in one place doing the […]

Vancouver Vacation: Sun, Fun, and Family

I’m back from another trip to Vancouver, this one organized mostly around the festivities for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was glorious weather the entire week, which was an especially good thing for the big party — a great event featuring family, old friends, lots of food and wine, and four musical performances from […]

Catching Up: Storm Warnings and Summer Reading

Hurricane Arthur passed over us yesterday. Happily, he was “only” a post-tropical storm when he got this far north, but he still packed a wallop. Our particular neighborhood in Halifax doesn’t seem to have been very hard hit. There are some branches down, including some pretty big ones, and we were without power for a […]

The Silver Spoons and the Joy of a Loving Letter

Here, as promised, is the story of Stewart and Joan and their silver spoons. Each Christmas the lot at the condominium get together for a huge dinner, catered, at the swanky social suite on the main floor. Each brings his own plate and cutlery. Stewart donned his neat green jacket and red tie and off […]

“Baking has assumed a sinister character in my life”: Remembering My Grandmother the Writer

My grandmother Louise Spratley was a real force in my young life: one particularly memorable thing she was responsible for was arranging for me to go backstage at the Vancouver Opera to meet Joan Sutherland. She died in 1993; I’m reminded of her often, not least because as I get older I look more and more like […]

Back from Boston Bearing More Books!

I’m back again from another trip to Boston, where I went for another of our more-or-less-biannual Open Letters Monthly editorial summits. Along with the pleasure of seeing my colleagues face to face comes the treat of visiting some of Boston’s many excellent bookstores. I brought back a more modest stack than last time (or the time before that): it’s dimly […]

On Vacation!

This Winter Term: Some Small Good Things

I may have been in Nova Scotia almost 20 years, but it’s no secret that I have not adapted well to east coast winters. I complain about them a lot! It’s not even the cold and damp I hate so much as the stress of driving in snow and ice. If I could hibernate, or […]

Holiday Traditions

On Sunday, while the snow and sleet and freezing rain made a mess of things outside, we stayed cheerful inside as we carried on one of our favorite holiday traditions: decorating our Christmas tree while listening to Michael Bawtree’s recording of A Christmas Carol. There aren’t a lot of activities, holiday-related or otherwise, that all four […]

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