Alexandra Writers Centre Society
ONLINE Writing The Seasons
Tuesdays10am-12pm June 8, 2021 (4 weeks)
Our life patterns journey around in cycles and spirals. The season’s rhythms summer, fall, winter, and spring provide inspiration for self-reflection, to celebrate personal insights, enhance our creativity, claim our unique wisdom and unlock our muse. This will enrich our lives, nourish and develop our courage as writers.
This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.
Manage Your Workplace Emotions
You can't change conflict and opposing points of view in the workplace. You can, however, change the way you react. Become more emotionally aware, harness your emotions and express them positively with control, confidence and composure.
Friday 7th May 1.00pm -4.00pm

Conflict Resolution for the Workplace
Successful conflict resolvers are not born; they are trained. Build your skills as an effective conflict resolver and mediator. Learn to recognize conflict patterns and what triggers and escalates conflict in others, master strategies that reduce conflict escalation, assert yourself confidently and give constructive feedback. These skills will help you work more productively and harmoniously with clients, colleagues and superiors. See Course Outline.
Instructor: Wilma Rubens - see Instructor Profile

Fridays 4th 11th June 2021 9.00 - 4.00pm

Entangled Enchantments

Entangled Enchantments
My very first collection of poetry. These poems celebrate my journey on the uncharted waters of the feminine. For your very own copy purchase at Cafe Books, Canmore, or Pages in Kensington, Calgary or contact

Friday, December 18, 2009

The moose car wash

It's time I remembered ALWAYS to carry a camera. Never know when nature is going to offer a unique gift. Clive and I had a great x country ski at Shark mountain yesterday. It felt like we weren't the only ones enjoying the Chinook. Out at Watridge Lake whiskey jacks dived for our breadcrumbs. In the forest a woodpecker drummed on an silvery grey logdgepole. I couldn't stop gazing at the sun dappled snow plastered mountains as I inhaled lungfuls of warm Chinook air and my heavy thoughts blew away all the way to Saskatchewan. Funny how a few days of bitter minus 33 weather can cause severe cabin fever and constant thoughts of escape to warmer climates. My acutal ability to survive the deep freeze, to keep my fingers and toes from freezing, hoping the car will start, and not to mention the thick layers of ice on the inside of the windows all dominant over any thougths of climate change.

On our return to the car park a mama moose and her baby were totally absorbed in their task of licking the salt off the cars and gobbling the chunks of dirty snow that had fallen off the running boards of the vehicles. I had time to ogle at their thick brown fur, long legs and rectangular noses. So focused on their task I don't think they noticed us.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Writing in the cracks

Here I am with a few minutes before I head out for my last Life Writing class this year. The most exciting happening today is that the weather actually warmed up from minus 33 of the last few days to just below freezing. Maybe I should have called this entry I LOVE CHINOOKS. There I was cross country skiing actually too warm and my nose hairs were not sticking to the inside of my nose. The mountains plastered in a fresh coat of snow looked spectacular. I tried to think of clever ways to descibe them but nothing lyrical came to mind.

Tonight is reading night when my 7 participants read a story they have writtien in the last 6 weeks. It is always a great night with a vast variety of stories. I am sure tonight will be no exception. Will report later.

OK that took all of 4 minutes and 53 seconds.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Deep Freeze

Here in Alberta it is minus 31 and the world experts are in Copenhagen talking about climate change. It appears that as Canadians we have failed miserably in keeping the agreement made at Kyoto, worse than that we have undermined the process. The Albertan oil sands are being targeted as an environmental disaster. I hear this on the news as I drive along the Bow River clusters of ice float on the dark surface as ethereal vapour rises off the water, frosting the trees that fringe its banks. It is so starkly beautiful in the bright Albertan sun. It is hard to get excited about climate change, not global warming, when on the other side my SUV window my skin would freeze in minutes.

The mall and superstore is busy with heavily clad folk from all over the globe bemoaning the cold temperatures and no doubt dreaming of warmer weather in their homelands. It is obvious that retail therapy is one of our nations chief pleasures on a cold day. Easy to forget the dangers of our climate while listening to Jingle Bells, and wondering what Christmas presents our loved ones would like. Calgary has doubled in population since we moved here in 1990. The new comers including ourselves lured by jobs and for some, the proximity of the Rocky Mountains.

I visit with my women friends, one confesses how hard it has been to care for her autistic daughter, another in her eighties is convalescing from a knee replacement and now her back hurts, and another is the sandwich generation running to medical appointments with her 90 year old mother, living with her two teenagers and finishing her master's thesis. We listen and honor the struggle of each other's journeys.

I am reminded in this frigid weather, stories of struggle and courage, of my yoga teacher as she circled her forefinger and thumb in the meditation. "My Indian teacher said, this reminds us of how little we actually know."

Friday, November 27, 2009

A spring-november day in the Rockies

Unexpected sunshine, mild temperatures, once in 10 year snow pack made for an awesome day up in Arethusa cirque, near Highwood Pass. We had to get their before they close the road at the beginning of December. None of us can quite believe it is still only November. We were up there with Rob and Bev Mackenzie, Everett and Brian McBroom. A day to remember for sure.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day at Ludvik's fantasy castle, Bavaria, Germany

Clive and Shona at the bridge, nature lover King Ludvik built to view the gorge.

The castle that inspired Walt Disney to build his fantasy castle. King Ludvic was found drowned in the lake under suspicious circumstance. He only spend 172 days in his castle and slept alone in his bed (he was not married the guide told us in all seriousness). It took 14 craftsmen and 4 years to build his bedroom. Now I think he must had a few enemies. Shortly after his death in the 18th century the castle was open to the public and was a great historical theme park.

Next door to fantasy castle, just a 10 minute walk away was the castle that he was born and brought up in. Now why would ludvic need another castle? I don't get it.

Ludvik did appreciate the magnifcent scenery around his castles. I think he liked climb to the highest turret and sing "I am the king of the castle and you're the dirty rascal!"

Me and Shona at the first castle. Note the cast that put an end to skiing in Austria. Our next stop was Munich Airport. Shona returned to Canmore the next day and Clive and I drove back to France.

First World Cup GS at SOLDEN, AUSTRIA

The race course on a glacier. Two weeks before it was a black glacier. Oh the power of mother nature.

There were 5 canadians in the race, only two in the top 30. It is practically impossible to reach the top 30 from the back of the pack. The course by the time our athletes raced was breaking up and had major ruts. When Shona hit a gate at the top of the pitch, the race was essential over although she did finish. She exploded her second metacarpal. Note the fan clubs each with their own brass bands and clouds of smoke. They did not need to be told "to make more noise."

Start List - what an experience for our young Canadian women to compete with the best in the world.

Clive and I visited the Salomon shop and spied behind some shelves a picture of Chris. How cool was that? Two international atheletes in the family.

Shona in the tech room. All the skis have names. Shona's were spirit channeller.

Day 2 Road from Italy to Solden

We climbed up,up and upsome more, stopped at the top and nearly got stuck again. Then popped through a tunnel and entered Austria. Unbelievable.

The road to Solden, Austria

Lake Garda, Italy
Lakeside town note the bourganvillia
Lemon tree by the Lake
Life is an endless adventure
We left France and crossed the little St Bernard Pass. We stopped the car here and almost got stuck. So instead of heading over more mountain passes we took the autostrada through Italy

Friday, November 6, 2009

Behind with my blog

I had such a busy three weeks in Europe I did not have time to blog. I have been back for a week in Canada desperately jet lagged, sneezing and coughing with work to do. Slowly but surely I am returning to my normal health and vigor.

Our first stop was Geneva where Fred, Alison,(university friends) Clive and I piled into a hired car and headed to Chamonix with magnificent views of Mont Blanc and 11 kilometers through the bowels of the mountain to Italy! I was amazed at the audacity of the plan, a tunnel through the highest mountain in Europe. After a short drive down the valley towards Asota we turned sharp right up a gazillion bends to the Little Saint Bernard Pass scattered with centuries military remains. A short drive from the pass found us in La Rosiere a French ski resort and Alison's brothers ski chalet. Perched high on a mountain side with distant views over waves of mountains to the west.

We spent 6 days hiking over the mountains, passes, through ancient villages and golden larches. Spectacular.

Clive and I picked up another hired car and headed to Solden, Austria and the first world cup GS of the season to "cheer on or cheer up" our daughter Shona and 4 of her teammates.

We were shocked to drive back over the Little St Bernard Pass to Italy to find that there was about 2 inches of ice on the road and our tyres were definitely not winter tyres. We had to abort our plan of driving over more passes through Switzerland to Austria and headed to the Autostrada to Milan and then north to Austria. This was easy although cars zipped past us at probably 200 k per hour!

What fun to find Lake Garda with a lovely little Italian village by the lake side very romantic and beautiful. The road along the lake side blew us away. The Italians sure like their tunnels! Any excuse. Incredible.

After a pleasant stop we headed over a high pass, 2558 metre to Solden. Well the road climbed up an alpine valley with green field, picturesque chalets, higher and higher until we could see it soaring vertically above us on a steep snow slope then it disappeared into a tunnel and through to Austria.

By the time we arrived in Solden my brain was fried with French, Italian and then German all in 24 hours.
To be continued shortly I promise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scottish Relatives

Emma and her father David Skeldon, my brother in law

Jane and Graham Hirst parents of Ethan

and this is autumn in Edinburgh?

Chris in Scotland

Grand Nephew Ethan Theodore Hirst 6 months old

Ethan and Chris

Chris and Grandpa Theo on the Ferry to the Island of Arran

Great weather in Glencoe

Chris and grand nephew Daniel 13 months

The Airdrie Manse of my childhood

Lamp on Ebenezer Church Airdrie Scotland

Ebenezer Church

The old vegetable patch in my childhood back yard

The weeping ash tree

The manse

The weather outside is not frightful but it is in Canmore!

Well here I am after a couple of action packed weeks with my son, Christopher Rubens. It is always good to be out of Alberta when they have disgusting weather. Actually the weather in Scotland has been pretty amazing. Quite mild today and of course the roses are still smelling wonderful, the trees turning into glorious orange, golds and reds. Sure it has rained a few days but we have had wonderful autumn weather and have no complaints.
Where to start? We began with a weekend in the Lake District with Clive's brother Desmond in gale force winds. Some school students were searching the mountain for the 6 tents they had abandoned in the early morning. As they dragged them, sodden out of the streams the brown nylon tents looked much worse for the experience. Meanwhile the brothers had a gleam in their eyes as they thought of bagging Scafell, the highest mountain in England. The fact that I was being blown off my feet across the mountain did not deter their zeal. Chris was not convinced of the fun of the experience. Still we did make the summit - it looked as if we were walking around inside a kettle. Definitely worked up a thirst for the pub, recommended in the Good Pub guide, bear and fish and chips almost compulsory at the end of a long wet day.

The next day dawned calm and clear. I walked while the three men rock climbed. The general consensus was that Des was a masterful traditional climber, knew exactly which piece of protection to place in the cracks. He rarely second guessed his choice.

Then it was back to Edinburgh for lunch with my niece Sarah at the Art Gallery of Modern Art. Believe it or not we sat in the sunny garden, watching the orange and black butterflies land on the purple Michaelmas daisies as we wondered how modern artists are so daring in their simple compositions. After lunch we walked along the Water of Leith, marvelled at the tall trees and the magnifients Thomas Telford bridge build in the eighteen hundreds. The high light of the following day was a visit to the theatre for a play called the Siver Darlings which essential was a story about a mother separating from her grown up son. How appropriate was that? She tried to convince him to attend the university to study Latin while he wanted to become a fisherman. 'Latin' he looked ar her in bemused puzzlement 'What would I want to learn that for?'

The highlight of the last two weeks was our three days on the island of Arran where I holidayed as a child. We rented a house on the sea front with great views across to Holy Island now owned by the Tibetan Buddhists. Here we left 92 year old Grandpa while the three of us trundled up on Arran's spectacular granity ridges in perfect blue sunny skies. The weather god's were shining on us.
We had a wonderful meal in the Kilmichael Hotel with my cousins, Anne and her husband Jim who were up from Bath visiting her brother Douglas who is lucky enough to live on Arran. It felt luxuriously oldy worldly with coffee served in the sophisticated dining room in front of a roaring fire. What a memorable evening! At the end the normally taciturn grandpa was heard to say 'People are so kind to me'
We were all sorry our stay was so short but we had to head to Dundee to visit with my niece's young family.

Sunday dawned clear and sunny, CLive, Chris and Ross MacDonald, my neice's wouth African husband headed to Glenoe to meet the intrepid mountaineer Des to scale Buchaille Etive Mor. Apparently mountains were completely obscured when they arrived but as soon as they started hiking they cleared and instead of the gale force winds forecast they had a calm day with views across Scotland from the summit. Meanwhile I enjoyed my grand nephew, a secure and happy little chappy!

That brings us up to the last couple of day spent wandering around Edinburgh, taking in the tourist sites of Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Castle and catching up with more nieces. Emma, Jane her husband Graham and their adorable blue eyed six month old Ethan. Oh yes and my brother in law David. Opps I almost forgot the trip to the Whiskey Club down in Leith where Grandpa Theo is a member. The written descriptions of the whiskey's would have made any creative writer proud - included some that tasted of paintstripper, ginger, - that goes to prove I should have written the flowery notes down at the time as they seemed to have flown from my brain.

No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a tour of the old pubs. So we began in the Abbotsford, moved to the Circle Bar that closed too soon at 11 pm so wandered down to the grass market with some new friends from new York and Preston. Chris loved it and wanted to it the following evening but alas his five am start for the airport meant an earlier night.

It was sad to take Chris back to Glasgow Airport - needless to say it felt like no time at all since I had picked him up two weeks ago. Still as he heads back to his life in Revelstoke he has a deeper sense of his Scottish heritage.

On our way back from the Airport with not much planned for the day we decided to visit the town of Airdrie where I lived for 8 years as a child. I left when I was ten and have never been back. I remembered where my father's church was. A stark stone building with Ebenezer Congregational Church on the notice board and the metal guards around the stain glass windows. We drove up the main street and there on the left the sign for Springhill Avenue. 'This is it. turn here.' Springhill Avenue was shorter and less steep than I remembered. That's were our parents put cinders and tarpaulins across the bottom of the avenue to stop our sledges from shooting our on the main road.' I told Clive. ' There is the old weeping willow. We used to climb up on the inside and slide down the inside.' It definitely looked taller than 50 years ago! I looked over the wall and pointed out to Clive how far back the rear garden went. I took photos but was reluctant to leave so knocked at the door. The retired couple were more than happy to take me through the back, a few things had changed, the huge vegetable garden turned into a herbaceous border looked much smaller than it had when I was weeding it all those years ago. There was the manure heap, the little patio across from the kitchen were my mother loved to eat lunch. 'This is were I rode my maroon tricycle I received for my fifth birthday.'
The couple asked us in, showed us around, we drank coffee in the Parlour that we were not allowed into except on the most special of occasions. Upstairs I wanted to say that was the room where father died, the room below the one his body was laid out and I touched his rubbery dead body.' Still it was the steepness of the old walnut banister that surprised most. How I remember how much fun my sisters and I had sliding down the smooth wood. Memories flooded my brain. It feels like I have come to terms with my now dead family and it is time to honor the positive influences like the old weeping willow, the little piece of garden that was mine and the fun us sisters had using my parents bed like a trampoline.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roaming in the gloming

Roaming in the gloming comes from an old popular Scottish romantic song however it summarizes my day. Scotlands weather has reverted to low cloud, drizzle and gloom. After coffee with my brother in law, who's health and hearing have sadly deteriorated since my last visit, and my neice Sarah she and I headed in the dreary weather to the new mall at Ocean Terminal. So there I was roamin in the gloomin wi' a lassie at my side as the song goes.

As much as I hate malls it was good to get out of the rain and lose ourselves in a little retail therapy. We found oursevles in Debenhams, I mesmerized by the strange fashions, leggins, little skirts, flowing jackets,and dainty shoes - I am definately not in Canmore anymore! I of course had to check out my purchases to make sure they would not lie languishing in my already crammed wardrobe. Reluctantly I replaced the little black dress with white and beige applique flowers on the rack. Happy that a size 10 fitted so well but then it wouldn't look that great hiking over Sunshine Meadows. Did I need another fleece? Here I do as the houses are so cold. After our efforts trying on clothes, we had to replenish our energy with tea and a huge peice of delicous gooey chocolate cake. That's right comfort food to combat the gloom outside. Maybe it is no surprise that the Scots seem fatter than they did when I grew up. Lets blame it all on the dreary weather. Still we did have fun, clutching our purchases and catching the bus to Sarah's place.

I decided to walk back through the drizzle to Theo's place to help work off the chocolate cake. What a different culture than that of the car culture of Canadian cities. Here people walk everywhere, regular buses services everywhere and not many cars in the main streets of the city. Edinburgh even in the rain is an attractive city, little closes and steps are designed for walkers. Everywhere the elegant building are framed with tall trees now tinged with orange and red.
Here I tackled some serious challenges in his kitchen then retreated to for come computer connection, blessing email, facebook and bloging. Computer addiction better than comfort food and hopefully will ensure that I fit size 10 dresses.

Tomorrow I hope to visit Little Sparta a garden created by a poet and writer. Then on thursday Clive and Chris are arriving.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Grand-nephew Daniel

Ross, Amy Daniel on West Haven beach, Carnoustie

Rocks at Carnoustie where Clive grew up

I love bathtime

Daniel 13 months

Heathrow Airport

Here I am in Heathrow desperately looking around for the healthy jocks, the folks you know for sure are working out, eating healthy and studying NLP. You would think that those kind of folk that we see jogging or biking in Canmore are not travelling or hanging around Heathrow.
This computer has a web cam. What a shock to see myself looking as old as many of the people reading newspapers, drinking lattes and consuming cheesecake. OK with a little help from the hairdresser my hair is not grey but there is no denying those wrinkles and scrawny neck. Like I can see my collar bones! I don't feel much different than I did 30 years ago. In fact my body has more flexibility than it had thanks to the Yoga Lounge and their great teachers. Sad to say in spite of gazillions of downward dogs and trying to turn myself into a pretzel I am not looking any younger. Well my dear be a little easy on yourself you missed out on a whole night’s sleep and it is the equivalent of 6 am and you never wake up that early at home.

I, you, one could imagine that this airport was the tower of Babel. It is hard to hear any one speaking English. It is difficult to identify all the languages I hear. The English couple on my right are having intense discussions about the price of food. Then there are the women with all manner of unbecoming head coverings, although on a bad hair day I might be tempted! But never! why on earth would I want to cover my head like some nun, imagine I would not feel the breeze playing with my hair, the warm sun on my scalp or the interchange of universal forces. My life would be smaller, less, and restricted .
I imagine all the stories these rainbow people have locked inside, stories of adversity, struggle and courage. Stories of dreams, growth and inspiration. fascinating

Outside the plate glass windows the sky is dull gray. Unbelievable that 18 hours ago I was enjoying Betsy’s deck, garden and the rich company of my Canmore friends. There the sky was a dazzling blue, and the sun hot on my skin. It was thirty degrees when we arrived at the airport the last time I actually smelled real fresh air. Here I am surrounded by Boots Pharmacy beauty; The tin goose - great coffee, great food, great bar; Caffe nero the Italian coffee company, voted no 1 coffee house in the UK for 6th year running, next in line is the pink neon sign for HMV, neighboured by Dixons, HB Smith, world duty free so many consumer opportunities but I have forgotten I have a flight to catch at gate 8 - See you all later.

I found my way to gate 8 just thought I’d check the web cam again - no change - it is worse than a mirror and picks up all my imperfections, no air brush to hide my blemishes rather wrinkles! Still my body has that tingling feeling telling it me has not had enough sleep, my teeth feel fuzzy and my body sweaty. A cat nap on the flight would be good. So I have definitely left Shangri La and dropped into another world.

Monday, September 7, 2009

More of Berg Lake hike

The very impressive Emperor Falls

Selina and Marlene just leaving Berg Lake for a 20 km hike out

Clive and Wilma

Selina always with a big smile

The incredible Robson Glacier

More of Berg Lake and Snowbird Pass

The glaciers ARE melting

The summit of Mount Robson peeps out of the cloud

Seed-head of mountain avens

Reef Glacier from Snowbird Pass

Me blissed out on the ridge above Snowbird Pass