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 30, 2011

Facebook poetry


the coracle moon
drifts on mountain waves
showered by stars
pinpoints of light
in the winter solstice night
and welcomes the fiery dawn

in a valley called Chickadee
the world born anew
covered in fresh snowcrystal
blue skies
fleece and friends
warm body and soul

seeds sprout in stillness
spread interwoven roots
offer an anchor in the storm
cocooned in the forest
i am entwined
in the moon’s embrace
a place to grow myself

2011 Christmas letter

There is a globe beside my computer with the Americas covered from top to bottom in bright pink dots – showing Shona, Andrew and Kumu’s 55,000 km route from Canmore, Whitehorse, Alaska and then south. Yes south as far as you can go by land without falling into the southern oceans. Then a few dots north to Buenos Aires from where they shipped their vehicle to Jacksonville, Florida, then drove north to Ontario and west to Canmore. A year’s round trip. It was great to welcome them back to Canmore just in time for Shona to start her University education in Environmental Science at Calgary University, and Andrew to take up his position as a Coach for the Lake Louise Ski Club. They are living in Calgary and have settled into a routine of weekdays in the city and weekend in the mountains, which they assure me, are among the most beautiful in the world. I have to agree with them. We have enjoyed their visits. You can read about their trip in their blog:

Chris continues his busy life in Revelstoke. He had an exciting trip to Kashmir, India last February. This was nostalgic for me as I spent a year there 40 years ago. Sad to say it has been war torn for years and soldiers were in many of his photos. Still he went helisking with a New Zealand company and the skiing has expanded significantly since the seventies. Chris was one of the athletes in a locally produced ski movie called ALL.I.CAN. It took two years in the making and has an environmental theme. In late September Clive and I were thrilled to be at the premier in Whistler along with 1198 others! The movie was even better second time round in Canmore. Superb cinematography, young people spreading the joy of skiing around the globe and inspirational reminder of the beautiful planet we call home. This summer Chris started to run his own Home Renovation Business and never seemed to be out of work. That has now been put on hold six months while he carries on with his winter skiing activities!

Clive and I spent 2 months in Scotland and Europe in the spring. One highlight was 10 days biking on the west coast of Scotland with two days of the Island of Eigg. Scotland, my first love did not disappoint and her beauty still takes my breath away. We spent 10 days hiking hut to hut in the Zillertal Alps in Austria with our university friends Fred and Alison. I loved it. In between time we reconnected with family and friends. Unfortunately Clive’s 94 year old father Theo, was not doing to well and had a few days in hospital with an infected toe that might have been a blood clot to begin with. He is still determined to live in his own home. He is actively very interested in the world, does his own grocery shopping and travels on Edinburgh buses and does the Guardian crossword every day. He is better now and his perseverance, wisdom and courage are inspiring.

Meanwhile in Canmore Clive and I have an active life doing yoga, hiking, biking and skiing. I have spent time writing and teaching. It feels like I have chased a snarling three-headed dog out of my writing brain as I work on the second draft of my memoir. Who knew it was such hard work?? We do have so much to be thankful for after all we live in paradise!!

Winter has got off to a very good start and we have already had some excellent powder skiing at Lake Louise. The backcountry snow conditions are still very unstable so trips there have been low key so far.

It’s really great at Christmas to receive everyone’s letters and news – thankyou for that.

All the very best for an enjoyable Christmas season and a memorable 2012.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Writing Story.

“Write for an hour.” Antoinette instructed.
“An hour?” my mind screamed. “What will I write for an hour? What needs explored this morning? What will come I wonder?”

When I signed up for this day of Life Writing I wanted to investigate the part of my story that seeks expression in my memoir. It has been a journey, a long journey.

It began as I travelled on a train across the deserts of Iran 40 years ago. Fresh eyes, young and innocent of the world I wrote a travel log of our honeymoon to Afghanistan. Back then my inner world was not a place I visited, it remained off limits, unexplored, not worthy of my attention. A forlorn, forbidden place where if I dared to enter I would find terrorists, demons filled with unspeakable shames and secrets. It was many years before I was forced to open the book of myself.

When I returned from India a few years later I wrote an article about hairdressing in the Himalaya. I though it worthy of National Geographic but when it was rejected by a travel magazine I filed it away in a box that I carted from London to NZ to Australia and finally Canada.

My life changed dramatically in 1984 as I plunged into mother hood. I did not want to forget the extraordinary life of travel I had lived, the wild places and people I met on those ‘once in a lifetime’ journeys. I carved out space in my busy life to write. In the small back bedroom, I closed my mind to my surroundings while I recorded our adventures on our first computer.

I showed these writings to a trusted mentor Jack Shallcrass. His comment took me aback. “Wilma we need to know about your thoughts and feelings.“ My files were pushed into the box to be forgotten as I raised my family.

Becoming a mother I propelled me into my feelings. I remember the awe I felt as my fully formed baby boy was placed on my stomach after 14 hours of labour. Love at first sight, careful examination revealed he had no squint. His brown eyes, in his perfect pixie face, framed by his dark hair, gazed at me wide and alert. A miracle. As he grew feelings poured through my body, weariness, exhaustion, anger, frustration, irritation, boredom, despair, depression, hope, joy, play, compassion, and love.

Years later the children grown, I wrote a draft of my life and now I am re-crafting this, some days it feels as if I am wallowing in my past.

Last night on facebook I watched photographs Louise Hay the writer who in the eighties gave me priceless tools to love and design my own life. She was dressed in a filmy magenta top celebrating at her 85th birthday party with vigor and enthusiasim. I felt warmth as if her love reached out to me across cyber space and through the computer screen. More than that I was inspired that she is still writing and living life full of meaningful activities.

Why write a memoir? It is about the growth of me, my unique story, my own unfolding, life’s process of revealing mySelf to myself. Each step not wrong, not bad, but necessary to my journey towards wholeness. In this happy day world of linear thinking and rationality where emotions and wandering are judged as wasting time, unacceptable, or downright wrong, I can’t think of anything more valuable than trying to express my growth, my development, my authenticity on the page.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A trundle from Moraine Lake to Lake O'hara

Clive chomping up to Obabin Pass

Heading up to Obabin Pass on nice firm snow - it was icy on the
other side and we had to use our crampons
oh no I nearly wrote tampons!

Jeanette and looking back to were we had come from
over the passon the left  well you can't quite see it but you get
the general idea -right!
Evidence of Climate change - this used to be a warm
shallow sea  and now its a place where
there is 9 months of winter and 3 months of poor sledging!

Our intrepid group plunge down into the next valley

baby marmot ahh!
Eiffel Lake in the early morning with Wenchemna Pass on the right.
Indian Paintbrush
Here are the files that I want to share with you.
I sent these using Elements Organizer. Find out more:
Light on Mary's Lake ok this should be the last photo!!
Well computers are a mystery - it started out at the top and now here it is
so apolgise from the creative order of things.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nothing like returning home to find out how far I have come ……or not!

Life is like a kaleidoscope. Holidays, new places, new experiences, revisiting home, enduring relationships are like a turn that produces a fresh vibrant pattern and demands self reflection. Big stuff happens in the crucible of family - illness, job loss, retirement, growth, grief, laughter, joy all between the bookends of birth and death. These and the voices from my ancestors that echo through my bloodline and mitochondria challenge me to see the broader picture, to expand my vision.

My choice to move away from judgement and criticism, teaches me to be conscious of my intentions for loving connection. I remember we are all works in progress when I look behind hurtful words to see the light, the sacredness, the divinity hidden by a tricky personality and tough life circumstances.

My long deceased mother thought; I the black sheep was godless. Now I know that by going home if I remember to step into my godliness and see that in other, the visit runs much more smoothly. Still old patterns attach like super glue and in my humanity if I slip from this ideal, I know to have been present, to let go, to forgive is to have done my best.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Raindrops keep falling on my head.

Actually they were not raindrops but more like gazillions of jugs of water that have fallen out of the sky in Edinburgh these last couple of days, accompanied by nature's wild symphony of crashing tymphanies and rumbling drums.  It was like a flash flood running across the ancient cobbles cleaning away litter and endless cigaratte stumps. Friday I escaped into the book shop and left puddles on the floor.

Yesterday after a wonderful sunny morning appreciating the elegance of Edinburgh, the castle and Princes street gardens huming with a cacphony of languages, the heavens burst open as Clive, Des his brother and wife Jane and I  set out to walk along the hidden valley of Rosslyn Glen.  The sheets of rain soon added dramatic atmospherics to this magnifcent valley of mixed forest, beeches trees, Scots pine, sycamore, and oak draped with fragrant honeysuckle.  We clambered along the muddy path happy in the knowledge that we humans are the top of the food chain in Britain. The size of the trees and the density of the foliage, the steep sandstone cliffs, combine to make this another of nature's wonderous masterpieces.

I belong among the wildflowers

Just back from three weeks trundling around mountains in Austria and France with our Scottish university friends Fred and Allison.
We hiked for 9 days in the Zillertal Alps.

Highlights were scrambling over 3 steep snowy passes. The Austrian Huttes were impressive in particular the chateaux like Beliner Hutte complete with two little pigs running around eating the plants. (What would the Canadian National Parks say to that?) We walked amongst red azaleas, electric blue genetians, magenta saxifrage, yellow buttercups to the whistle of marmots as they dissappeared into their burrows, and the thunderous sounds of rushing waterfalls.

Lowlights - day three it began to rain at lunchtime, poured as we sweated over the pass. We were dripping by the time we reached the warm hut. One hour later we looked out of the window to SNOW - just felt like Canmore! Still we managed to continue the next day inspite of 6 inches of snow and swirling cloud. Sometimes following the path was like connecting the red dots painted on the rock but that day it was like braille.

 Down from the mountains we boarded a train to Innsbruck and then onto Geneva were we picked up a car on the French side of the airport as it is cheaper. What a complex road system! You need swiss francs in switzerland and Euros in France - so we avoided Switzerland.  We drove to Allison's brothers ski chalet in La Rossiere like an eagle eryie with fantastic views over waves of mountain ranges. Here summer arrived and we had a week enjoying many hikes with amazing views of Mont Blanc consciously soaking in the hot rays before returning to Scotland.

The final couple of days we delighted in the ancient town of Annecy, with its vibrant markets and patesseries. People walk and bike everywhere with shopping baskets spilling over with lettuce, spring onions, cherries, apricots and of course baguettes.

The next stop was C.E.R.N. - here 27 kilometres of underground tunnels are used to explore the collisions of streams of protons in hope of finding out what happened in the first three minutes after the big bang. 3000 of the planets brightest scientist from many different countries seek solutions to this problem.

Final evening we spent enjoying a leisurely French meal on a splendid patio, surrounded by sweet smelling roses, enjoying the ambiance, food and speculating about the lives of those around us.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scotland Bewitches - 2

Kildonan House B&B - wonderful and comfortable.

Yoga in the great outdoors. Awesome.

A perfect evening on Eigg

Scotland oh so green.
And who's that cavorting on the bridge

Yogi on the edge of Eigg

Scotland Bewitches - 1

Drop dead gorgeous - that's the view of course!
That's Rhum and Muck in the distance
where we were heading.
Just little bit offroading on the way to Sanna Bay from
Ardnamurchan point - the most westerly place
on the British Isles

Can you imagine a traffic light on Scotland's
most westerly point!

Here I am on the Island of Mull - the sun is still
shinning! We had just been to the silvery beach
of Calgary.

Donna the piper welcomes us to Eigg
Her little dog howled in synchrony.

People have been living here for 5000 years.

Who said it rained in Scotland. Day one on Arran and we
were HOT!

Family photos

My niece Amy with her hands full of Kirsten 8
months and Daniel 2 years and 9 months

Amy and Kirsten in the
grounds of Glamis Castle
My niece Jane Hirst and her son Ethan a few hours before
the tree blew over!

The outcome of mother nature's rage!

Entertaining my grand nephew Daniel.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Still crazy after all these years.

Well it finally happened this afternoon it started to rain. It is the west coast of Scotland after all; and the rain makes it deep green and lush. It is Sunday and we have been biking since Thursday. On Arran we had a short visit with my cousin who lives in a idyllic spot under a spreading sycamore tree that almost dips into the gentle sea. Then the biking fun began. Our lastest purchase Dahon folding bikes were put to the test. The hills are short and steep here in the west.  Thusday began with a heavy sky that slowly improved throughout the day.

It was on the shores of Kildonan with vistas of the Islands of Pladda and Alisa Craig I came for my family holidays. Dare I say more than fifty years ago. Here on Arran I camped as a teenager with the Scripture Union. We biked up and over cow pasteurs to the standing stones. These are over 5000 years old. The afternoon was spectacular. A funny thing happened - I began to feel warm and strip off the layers of fleece that I have been covered in since I landed in the motherland. There I was soaking in sea views, smells of seaweed, hawthorne, fresh cut grass listening to cuckoo, hoo hoo of wood pigeons and the high shrill call of the skylarks. It was the kind of day you dream of when holiday planing and never quite think it will occur. The locals commented, 'Its not normally like this here.'

It was easy to understand this as the trees and ground ferns all along the west coast had been blasted by last weeks storm. The foilage brown and withered. Fallen trees scattered into shards on the ground.

Believe it or not we sat outside in the colourful garden of the Lochranza pub as Clive eyed up the boat floating idyllically in the harbour. The ruined castle and yes the midges left us in no doubt that we were actually in Scotland. It was as if Scotland was out to seduce its wayward emigrant children with her natural beauty.

Friday morning we biked onto the ferry north to the Mull of Kintyre, the rugged hills of Arran strident in the cloudless sky. Our legs, as if lubriacated with premium oil propelled our small wheels up and over the moors to Tarbet, a quaint old seaside town looking lovely in the sunlight.  After filling up with a scottish breakfast, delicious coffee and mailing some of our excess belongings back to Edinburgh to lighten our load, we took a side road through old gnarled oak trees, bluebells, red fuchia and banks of pink campion. A cyclist John from Seattle chatted to me up a huge hill! What goes up must come down and the downhill was worth the uphill slog.

Once in the white houses of Lochgilphead we found the bike track along the side of the peaty brown Crinan Canal. We humed along the flat trail glad we had left the hills behind. In a while the bike trail turned north and just when I thought I couldn't go any further we popped out on the main road in the ancient hamlet of Kilmartin and there was a Bed and Breakfast. My knees told me I had been biking all day and the friendly proprieter suggested I looked exhausted. When we reappeared showered and in clean clothes he did not recognise us.

The fields around Kilmartin have been cultivated for over 5000 years. People have left their burial mounds and standing stones. In the graveyard there were more recent stones only 200 years old carved with knights and spirals. The pub was a lively place where tourists mingled with locals talking about round up the sheep and cutting the hay. The sea harr rolled in and cooled the land.

Saturday morning we had a fifteen mile ride up and over hills, (it was a fifteen minute car ride)  to a small marina where we took a water taxi to the island of Luing. The islands of Jura, Scarpa in layers of grey still have not lost their magical apeal. Once at Seil Island we visited a garden jammed with plants of all colours and a small bower dedicated to the God of wine. We had lunch of  local seafood chowder on the pub patio that looked out to the Island of Easdale and the wild cliffs of Mull.

Our next ferry ride was from Oban to Mull. I remembered my first trip there when I was 14 on the old ferry, not a car ferry in those days. My sister Ruth and I travelled all the way up to Tobermory in the bridge. It was a dull overcast day and we were mesmerized by the unfolding scenery. That trip was the beginning of a long assocation with Mull. A few years later my sister worked as a teacher in the two room school in Salen. I visited her every opportunity I had. I remembered the day I purchased a ticket from the purser, walked on to the deck and the wind snatched it from my hand and it dissappeared into the water depth.

Oonce in Salen the School has been transformed into the offices for Social Services and a new school has been built. There are many more holiday cottages and a new mediterranean resturant. After a delcious meal we walked along the quiet road up into the deciduous woods where I had first seen bats. The evening sun bathed the green trees, orange seaweed, black rocks with a warm glow. The oyster catchers shrieked from their post on the seashore, barnacle geese herded their young family into the water. I loved Mull then and I loved it now, and still crazy after all these years.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Now and Then

Scotland was swept by gales over 70 miles per hour on Monday. I was at the park with my two nieces, Amy, Jane, her husband Graham and three children Daniel nearly 3, his baby sister Kirsten, and their two year old cousin Ethan. On the way to the Park I was nervous about these little kids running along the pavement. The road is not busy. Then I remembered when my own kids were this age we lived in Sydney Australia. One day I took Chris to his Happy Rainbow Kindergarten, as I was helping Shona out of the car I watched in horror as my small boy run across the road in front of a car. Fortunately this incident did not end in disaster but the memory lingers in my cells. Now I know that children don’t learn road sense until they are eight.

The wind howled through the 30 metre trees and I hoped they would not crash down on top of us. We stayed on the swings away from the trees. The rain chased us home. Graham, Jane and Ethan left for Edinburgh. We heard later that both the Tay Bridge and Forth Bridge were closed due to winds of 108 miles per hour.

That evening when Daniel and Kirsten were asleep I walked to the park, under blue skies and white clouds a big giant of a tree, lay on its side, branches spread out over the grass, roots in the air. I walked along a trail that was once a railway line, the silver birch trees shook violently as the wind continued its temper tantrum.

On Friday, the day after I arrived here from Canada, Clive and I walked around Edinburgh, under the tall arches of the trees in the Meadows. Past the University Library where we had both studied four decades ago. We mingled with the tourist chatting in French, German, Italian and Croatian on the castle esplanade. Strode down the mound past the stone columns of the art gallery, through Princes Street gardens to the restaurant under the crypt. I wondered what tales the curved stone roof could tell, what skeletons had been stored here in years gone by now filled with people eating soup, coffee, and cake.

Many things have changed since I was a girl growing up in Edinburgh. Now the streets are spotless, the food international and the shoppers multicultural. Back then the God of my father was a wrathful old man sitting on a cloud and now my Goddess is within and I love her fiercely.

Monday, May 9, 2011

More Photos from Campbell Icefields April 2011

Michelle looks like she has been doing this all her life

Well it is almost a drop off!!!!!!!!

Lunch at the top of Diamond Dust

Heading to Vallencia Col and East Peak

Dave boot packing up to East Peak

Another summit for Clive and Wilma

It's now early morning Thursday and we are heading to Allan Campbell

Up over the Lake with East Peak in the background - yesterday's summit

Me bootpacking up a steep slope on the way up Allan Campbell

Clive set off a little avalanche - safely

As far as we got. We didn't like the over hang!
And the sking didn't look that great

The view was spectacular

And the ski down was AMAZING

The beautiful lodge.

At the end on the day the skis get a rest

Last day  back were we began on top of the dome

Great mountains

And slogging up.

Celine our awesome cook

Our tracks on the Camel Humps

Flying out see the helicopter blade almost touching the cliffs YIKES!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cambell Icefields 2011

We were lucky to be invited to a grand trip to the Campbell Icefields Chalet built by Bernie Schiesser, a mountain guide from Golden. Now some have called this the old farts trip but I prefer to call it the wise men's trip. It was Pablo Picasa that said it took a long time to learn to be young and the members of this trip definitely proved that to be true.
Gord at 85 was incredible trim and fit and still backcountry skiing - amazing. Then there was beautiful Winni from Kamloops, who certainly did not look her age at 70. Guide Tony celebrated his seventieth birthday a few weeks ago at Eldorado. Another guide and his wife Firtle and Heather from Calgary. John who lived in Puket, lost his feet in an aeroplane accident in the late sixties and still instructs skiing.
Then there were the sprightly younger folk, Murray Toft's group with Doris, Greg and Randy. Our group included Chuck O' Callaghan, his brother Dave, his partner Michelle who took to the sport like a duck to water, then Clive and I. I have been heard to say I wanted two men one to cook and one to clean. But on this trip I had 3 men. At least one to break trail and it would have been nice to have to carry my pack and the other to change my skins - but that is not quite how it works in the mountains. So I carried my own pack, changed my own skins and occasionally broke trail.
The caretakers Chris and Collen did an awesome job, stomping snow, carrying water for the sauna, lighting the sauna and cleaning up. They even found time to follow us up the mountains and ski down elegantly on their cross country skis.
Oh yes and the most important person of the entire group. Celine our incredible cook who kept supplied with mountains of delicious food. Her cinnamon buns were to die for, delicious appetizers, dinners, salads, deserts provided the fuel to climb the mountains.

You can see from our photos that we had a wonderful memorable week.

We have arrived.

It's bluebird - no time to lose - Clive on top of the Dom

Looking at the hut from the dome

Clive, Chuck, Tony, Michelle and Dave on the BLuewater.

Evening sun on our tracks.

Murray, Doris, Greg and Randy

Dave and Clive on the Campbell Glacier with Thunder Mountain in the distance

The Prior Glacier

Up on the Prior Glacier

Allan Campbell - the prize