Friday, April 30, 2010

Auction: Art by Actress Wynn Tetrault

AWESTRUCK, ENTHUSED, teary-eyed and amused are the many moods I have felt after seeing performances at the White Rock Players Club. But like so many artistic endeavors, its supporters and performers must also participate in the continuing struggle to keep culture alive through fundraising events.

If your pallet likes a little wine and cheese with its fine art, you will savor A Live and Silent Auction at White Rock Coast Capital Playhouse. Doors open on Sunday, May 2, 2010, at 1 p.m., when people can view works by the late Wynn Tetrault, actress, artist and one of the theatre’s founders. Even now Tetrault is an asset helping to promote a cause that she loved. Her lovely scenic paintings of familiar BC landscapes express her sensitivity to the environment and local surroundings. Art connoisseurs must register to participate. For more information, please call the theatre box office at 604-536-7535.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

After The Rain

AFTER THE PATTER of rain stopped, the only thing that mattered

was to pick a path and wander.

I saw sun splash colour along Surrey sidewalks

and wet blooms peek through flattened foliage.

From tulip and dogwood to dandelion and lilac,

they all did their showy best to stand tall.

Recovering from the heady showers,

they drank from their rain filled cups as I continued my walk.

The outdoor bouquet of flowers

soaked in sunny colours.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day: With or Without Us

ISN'T IT SILLY to destroy the earth right from under our feet? Yet that is exactly what we do in order to destroy others and to live what some perceive is the good life. I believe the earth is stronger than what we can do to it, however. So although the dispassionate planet might one day shake off humanity like a bad rash, it will continue to glow in the universe.

My hint of Haiku expresses this view:

Earth gathers spring rain
A girl scoops up a puddle
With her umbrella

Rain sprinkles the sea
A boy pulls in screaming gulls
With his net of crumbs

Sea waves unmoved
Earth turns like a bird circling
With or without us

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kwomais Point Park: Nature's Trance

THE BUDDHA IN MY BACKYARD reminded me of something I read recently in To Forget the Self from The Buddha and His Teachings. I recognized the fleeting feeling of tranquility described in my previous post as well as in the few words below from the book:

Seeing forms with the whole body and mind,
Hearing sounds with the whole body and mind,
One understands them intimately

Swept away by the sights and sounds of my natural surroundings, I forgot all cares and concerns and felt at one with my environment and the universe. I suppose it was a mini meditation achieved without effort. Nature can do that to people. But a little instruction is also helpful through enlightened reading and meditative techniques.

I was glad to see a Meditation Series is one of several programs to launch activities at the recently transformed Kwomais Point Park in South Surrey. Kwomais aptly means “place of vision”. The pathway, trees, water views and history surrounding the park and buildings make it an ideal setting for reflection and personal renewal.

Prior to its sale to the City of Surrey as parkland in 2007, a church organization owned the site, operating what is said to have been one of BC's oldest accredited camps. Meditation can come easily when walking through this natural forest chapel. Indeed, just being outdoors and exploring the lush foliage and abundant wildlife provides a sense of interconnectedness.

It's never too early to foster love and respect for the natural world. Today's child could be a future guru or at the very least a passionate steward of his/her own backyard inspired by such fun adventure/exploring courses as Nature Nuts, also offered at Kwomais Point Park. The first session is underway and the next series of four sessions starts May 22nd 11:30 am to 1:00 pm.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Swing Into Sunny

SUN CREPT MAGIC ONTO THE CHILLY lawn yesterday and a warm breeze played in the greenery as I tidied the shrubbery in my yard. Wind chimes rang their random rhythms, gulls called winsomely from a distance, and sparrows darted busily from tree to tree. Sweet grass and blossoms scented the air and a squirrel chewed a peanut with tender care. I soaked in the sensation of being alive in a wondrous world for several seconds with no distractions until my thoughts swung back to the branch that needed trimming over there.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bill Vander Zalm Not For Harmony

TWO FOR ONE USUALLY MEANS a good deal is being offered at the grocery store. What could be wrong with a bargain or, for that matter, a beautiful song performed in harmony? We all know words are important in swaying public opinion. But although “harmonized sales tax” has a nice ring to it, it is out of tune with much of the taxed-to-the-max public. In addition, many shoppers know that two-for-one sales are often a gimmick disguised as a saving.

It is not surprising then that former Premier Bill Vander Zalm, and the general public, have serious doubts about the veracity of the BC Liberal claim that joining the GST with the PST will boost the economy, lower prices and create jobs. This is especially true when we see that the two taxes, scheduled to morph into the 12 percent HST on July 1st, will increase the cost of such basic services as a meal at a restaurant, a movie, haircut, Cable TV, and even burial when the time comes.

Reports from most media suggest a team of wild horses couldn't halt the HST. However, Bill Vander Zalm was much more optimistic when he spoke during a meeting I attended at the Star of the Sea Hall in White Rock on Friday. I wasn't expecting such a crowd and seeing it build was a little like waiting for the Olympic torch to arrive as the line stretched around the block.

Vander Zalm was at the door doing a meet and greet. The hall quickly became packed with an appreciative, almost bubbly, audience eager to hear the former Premier give details about the HST as well as provide history about the realities of yet another tax to the average consumer.

Vander Zalm was quick to remind the crowd that prior to the election the Liberal government said it would not implement the HST. He explained how shocked he was when he first heard a brief report about the HST coming to BC on the evening news. He became so incensed, in fact, that he was ready to give up some relaxing golf games and (I'm guessing) a cruise or two to tour the province. This past while, he has stayed in some nice and also seedier hotels with a handful of other dedicated volunteers to inform and get the petition he launched signed.

Vander Zalm seemed certain that his group will collect the necessary signatures from at least 10 percent of the registered voters in each of BC’s 85 electoral districts by July 5th. Striving to get 15 percent so that the public's objections will be clear, it is a Herculean task that requires footwork from an army of volunteers.

I left the event with the impression that Vander Zalm sincerely believes the HST is bad for BC and that it can be stopped. I couldn't help but admire his late-in-life passion and willingness to sing a different tune.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Weather Beyond My Windowsill

I WOKE TO WHAT SOUNDED LIKE a loud herd of buffalo galloping over the roof. Since that was not likely, my second thought was that local raccoons were cavorting on top of the house. It took a while to shake off enough sleep to realize a major hailstorm was passing through.

This was totally unexpected since the weather reports I read mentioned only a mix of sun and cloud with 40 percent chance of showers. Now I see “risk of thundershowers with hail” has been added. The “predicted” thundershowers appeared at around 6:30 am when the computer blacked out for a few seconds and what sounded like a jet plane rumbled overhead.

Less than two hours later, the sun peeked through and the morning looked gentle and serene. And now that it has started to drizzle, the proof I will have that West Coast weather is fickle and definitely not dull is the picture of hail on the roof that I took at the windowsill.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Stellar Umbrella: Tosses & Tips


PENELOPE'S UMBRELLA DOES REMARKABLE things. However, most of us in BC are satisfied simply with good coverage and a strong windproof frame. Chances are that chilly breezes mixed with smatterings of rain and occasional hail will continue throughout April. Although it is too soon to put away your umbrella, it could be time to buy a new one.

Like a favorite raggedy doll, even a worn down slightly bent umbrella that turns inside out at the slightest wind can be hard to relinquish. For sentimental types, such as myself, a cozy canopy that has been a head cover for years and wears the tatters of time deserves appreciation. It’s a good thing we don’t have to toss out the old to buy a new umbrella. If you are thinking of making a purchase, here are a few things to consider:

Is the umbrella comfortable to hold? The grip of an umbrella is as important as the fit of your hat and shoes.

An umbrella should be lightweight but not so fragile that it will not withstand the West Coast winds.

The best umbrellas open and close automatically with reliable ease.

Collapsible umbrellas should open to at least 42 inches to give proper coverage.

Consider a Teflon-treated canopy that repels water and dries quickly.

Check the storage pouch to ensure the umbrella can be put back into place comfortably once it has been used.

Be aware of the store’s return policy and warrantees as different manufacturers offer zero to lifetime guarantees.


Unlike running down the street with a newspaper over your head, an umbrella is a fashion statement that requires some thought. Do you want to express yourself with bold colours that brighten a dull day or do you prefer neutral colours that won't clash with your clothing? Umbrellas come in an array of designs and it's nice to know that anything goes. A Van Gogh painting or a huge daisy can hover over your head as you walk through the April showers in style.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Purrfect Penmanship

I’M A WHIZ at doodling, jotting down notes and signing my name with pen or pencil. But I haven’t written a substantial letter by hand for longer than I can remember. My declining penmanship generally goes unnoticed as months and years slip by. When I actually start to compose a letter by hand, I am dismayed at the messy scrawl my handwriting has become. However, rather than staying the course and trying to make my words more legible, I too often opt for a keyboard to do the task. Not surprisingly, my typing skills have improved while my penmanship has worsened.

With so many hours spent at computers and with current reliance on even the tiniest keyboards, it is possible that future generations will eliminate penmanship completely only to have it revive as a valued art form produced by an elite few. If so, writing by hand will come full circle to a time when only specially trained scribes know how to create the written word. Clearly, use it or lose it applies to penmanship.

Essentially, the careful handwriting I once produced is not just about penmanship. It is also about exercising a communication tool that distinguishes humans from other earthly creatures, such as the neighborhood cat that need no pen OR keyboard but a simple purr to have a good chat.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mother Nature Sweeps House At Easter

THE WINDSOCK SWUNG at a dizzying pace when the wind came back in full force. Although wind cannot be grasped, its impact was strongly felt Good Friday evening and all through the night in Surrey, BC. Multiple branches, mostly evergreen, littered yards and roads before dwindling down to a gentle ruffle by Saturday afternoon. Harmless now, it was a reminder of its violent potential. The wind is indiscriminate about life in its path. The air needed cleansing and the dying branches needed to be swept from the trees. But I’m left wondering where the sparrows and other creatures that started to build nests hid during the rampage and how many survived Mother Nature cleaning house on Easter weekend.