Archive for Gratitude Posts

published in Dreams/Goals, Gratitude, Inspiration, Travel by Maryanne | January 31, 2018 | 14 Comments

Is That a Dipstick in Your Pocket…

Or Are You Just Happy to see Me?


Teddy the octopus, Newport Aquarium, Oregon

 “Sometimes you have to unplug from the world you know to connect with the far grander world that you don’t.”

– Jacob Baynham

Boy, am I ever glad I returned to blogging on a weekly basis, as there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of events to report on!

I had a tremendous week of writing at the Crab Cottage VRBO in Newport. The only drawback to that place was that it was on a very busy street in an otherwise quiet town. In other words, it was the perfect setting to be working on the Bungalow by the Sea play script. I felt like I was right at my old home with noisy traffic whizzing by…in an otherwise quiet town.

Anne & MA (a dreadful shot of me but a lovely one of Anne)

Years ago, when my friend, Terri, and I were on a road trip with my dogs, Sable & Soda, we stayed in Newport and got chatting with Anne, who worked in a really cute store, the Peerless Puffin. So I popped in to the Puffin when I was in Newport and was thrilled to see Anne still worked there!

We had a great chat and then met for dinner to gab some more and then the next night, caught a performance of Beauty & the Beast at the Newport Centre for Performing Arts. It was excellent! As you may know, the story is about the importance of changing and growing…and how difficult that can be at times. But when we really want something, we can change for the better.

Rosie, the protagonist in my play, could relate. So could I 🙂

The ocean is in the background and to the left is the Newport Center for Performing Arts

When I first arrived at the Newport VRBO, I was delighted to find The Soul of an Octopus; A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of  Consciousness by Sy Montgomery on the bookshelf. I’ve been wanting to read it for months but hadn’t got around to picking up a copy. I read it during the week and was so inspired by the story – and the creatures – that I went to the Newport Aquarium one afternoon to see if I could see a Giant Pacific octopus.

Did I ever!

Teddy the octopus in action

Theodore (a.k.a “Teddy”) put on quite the show. In the midst of his performance, an aquarium volunteer came up beside me and stared at the tank, astounded.

“Wow,” she said. “He isn’t like this very often…maybe once every two to three months.”

I shook my head in wonder and continued watching Teddy for another five minutes, profoundly grateful to be able to be see this.

Breakfast at Georgie’s Restaurant, Newport

A couple of days later, after a scrumptious breakfast at Georgie’s (my Mom and I had a crab dinner there years ago and the sunset was so spectacular, the entire restaurant broke into applause!), Sadie and I hit the road for Florence…but not before stopping at a gas station.

In Oregon, they pump the gas for you, so while someone was doing that I checked the oil. Or rather, I tried to check the oil. I pulled out the dipstick to check the oil level but something didn’t look right. So I stood there awhile, turning the dipstick this way and that, examining it carefully. Then it hit me: it was bigger than it should be.

It finally dawned on me that I wasn’t looking at just the dipstick but also the gasket-thing that is supposed to be welded to the engine…that the dipstick goes into.

And try as I might, I could NOT get the damn dipstick and attached gasket back into the engine. So I went inside the station and asked the guy for help. He followed me back out to my car. Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

HIM (while trying to put dipstick into engine): Geez, you’re right…that hole is hard to find.

ME: I have a flash light…do you want me to shine some light down there?

HIM: Sure!

So I shine the light from my new handy-dandy headlamp flashlight into the dark abyss.

HIM: Better…but I still can’t see to get it in there.

ME: How about I go underneath and we can try and guide it that way?

HIM: Okay.

So I lie down on my back and slide under the CRV and shine the light up.

ME: How’s that?

HIM (after much grunting and groaning): Damn! That is really tight. Can you move the light around a little?

ME (trying not to laugh): Sure.

So I move the light around a bit.

HIM: Stop! That’s perfect. Don’t move…stay right there.

ME (trying really hard not to laugh): Okay.

HIM (after a few more groans): Damn…your engine is HOT!

ME: Sorry!

HIM: Never mind. I got it…it’s in!

Then I got back on my feet, thanked him and (after sharing a cigarette…kidding!) went on my merry way 🙂

This little encounter reminded of Cameron Tuttle’s brilliant road trip book, The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road (which I have blogged about on past adventures):

Now, just to bring this blog back out of the gutter, here are a few lovely scenery photos taken on the road between Newport and Florence:

Love this shot of the lighthouse with the sun shining on it, as the storm clouds gather…good-bye Newport!


Waves smashing against the rocks, Sea Lion Caves (near Florence)


Sea Lion Caves (if you look closely, there are hundreds of female seal lions & pups in the foreground and to the left)

When Sadie and I arrived at our VRBO in Florence, I opened up the front door and nearly burst into tears. It was like walking into my dream home…an adorable cozy, little beach cottage.

And, I’m pleased to report, an extremely quiet cozy little beach cottage.

I shall post photos in next week’s blog…till then, take care!

P.S. Yes, I AM getting the dipstick fixed tomorrow.

 “There’s no way around it, you need a car – ideally, one that runs faster than you do. But anything that moves forward will do.”

– Cameron Tuttle, The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road

If you are new to reading about this odyssey, here are the previous Road Trip 2018 blogs:

She Packed Up Her Potential…

Write On – Writing What We Know May Help Teach Us What We Need to Learn

On the Road…But Nearly Not

Surprise! Greetings from Newport

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

published in Aging, Death, Family, Fatherhood, Gratitude, Inspiration by Maryanne | March 5, 2017 | 2 Comments

And Away He Goes…My Dad is Off On His Next Big Adventure


Dad at 82, ready for a road trip 🙂

On February 27th, 2017, my Dad, Alex Pope, passed away peacefully in Linden, AB. My little brother, Carleton, wrote this beautiful obituary for him:

In his 84th year, Alexander Carleton Pope left us for his next great adventure.

Loved and cared for by many, Dad was born to Douglas Pope and Helen Alexander on the family farm by Richmond-Melbourne, Quebec. He grew up in Montreal, and leaves behind his younger brothers Doug (Millie) and Ted (Sylvie).

Before Dad was a year old, he was taken to his grandparents’ country home, where a large fire was built to warm the brick house for the cherub’s arrival. The resulting chimney fire consumed the home, and so began a very interesting and capricious life.

After earning a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill in 1955 (taking five years instead of the usual four), his careers were in trust banking and commercial real estate. Although perhaps his favourite work was in retirement, when he took it upon himself to become a semi-professional bottle picker. Though not his most lucrative occupation, he was very fond of his “returnables,” and cycled far and wide in search of new treasure troves to recycle and redeem.

Alex was the proud father of Pat (Mary), Doug (Tracey), George (Donna), Maryanne (John), and Carleton (Valina). He was also a dedicated grandpa to Kylie (Colm), Melanie, Laura, Kimberly, and Emily, and a great-grandfather to Baby Liam! Further descendants are sure to follow.

Mary Harrison & Alex Pope, 1958

Dad first married Mary Harrison, who died in 2014, and then Elsie Los, who died in 1993. When his second wife passed away, he left his career to devotedly raise his youngest son and care for his own aging father. Through his retirement, he always made time to help his children with their projects and businesses; not to mention helping his grandchildren with their homework!

Alex’s two greatest passions were learning and libations, which were more often than not enjoyed together. Dad was a true academic and a critical thinker, and loved nothing more than reading abstract books and pondering the nature of ultimate reality.

Dad also loved literature, and this encouraged him to return to McGill in his ‘60s where he earned another degree, this time in English Literature. He enjoyed writing unique short-stories for several years thereafter.

Sadly, with the onset of dementia in his late ‘70s, he lost the ability to enjoy these passions, which he found genuinely vexing.

As his illness progressed, Dad received a lot of help and consideration from everyone at the Golden Hills Lodge in Three Hills. Dad then moved to the Westview Care Community in Linden, where he received exceptional kindness and attention these last three years. All of his caregivers were very much a new family for him, and he became affectionately known as “Papa.” We are all extremely grateful.

While not his alma mater, Dad was accepted for a third and final time to university, as he donated his body to medical science at the University of Calgary. In accordance with his wishes, there will be: “Absolutely no funeral!”

Thanks for everything Dad! We will all miss you very much.

Love this selfie of me & my Dadio taken in 2015

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.


published in Beauty, Giving, Gratitude, Greeting Cards, Inspiration by Maryanne | December 12, 2016 | 2 Comments

Thank You or Thinking of You – Does Sending a Card in the Mail Still Matter?


“In a world where so much communication is merely utilitarian, the simple acts of investment, remembrance, gratitude and appreciation can show the people who matter to your life and business that they are important to you.”

– John Coleman

Ahhh…the rapidly disappearing act of sending greeting cards in the mail. Other than for Christmas and perhaps a few Birthdays, who sends cards in the mail anymore? Even Christmas and Birthday cards seem to be fewer and fewer. And don’t even get me started on thank you cards 🙁

When I actually do receive a thank you card in the mail, I kiss the damn thing – in surprise and gratitude. I am SO thankful to receive a thank you card because it tells me that whatever I did, said or gave was actually appreciated…and perhaps even enjoyed.

Now, I certainly don’t always send people thank you cards (or ‘thinking of you’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘congratulations’ or whatever) but I really do try. Based on personal experience (both of having received thank you cards and not so much), I think it does matter.

Thinking of someone or being grateful for something is one thing; actually taking the time to send a card that expresses that is quite another.

Perhaps this why – despite the fact that most people don’t seem to mail many cards anymore and therefore don’t buy them in the first place – I still decided to create my own line of photo greeting cards (alongside the recycled Christmas cards) this past year.

I guess it was just something I wanted to do, regardless of the outcome.

For inspiration, I turned to the some beautiful photos of my beloved dogs (Sable, Soda and Sadie) as well snapshots from some of my recent travels and experiences. Even though I knew selling the cards might be a challenge, I loved making them 🙂

“I am going to spend as much time as I can creating delightful things out of my existence, because that’s what brings me awake and that’s what brings me alive.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

I know I’m not the only one receiving less cards in the mail these days. Last summer, I sent a friend a birthday card on her birthday – and she e-mailed me immediately, thanking me and letting me know how much it meant to her because mine was the only birthday card she’d received. In other words, it was special…it meant something.

“Life moves too fast. You may be thinking of a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while, but before you know it a day, a week, maybe even a month passes before you do anything about it. I challenge you to change that! Stop for just a moment and send a card in the mail to that loved one….it will likely be something they keep, either on their fridge, in their nightstand, or somewhere else safe, so that they can look at it again and again and feel your love.”

– Sherry Ballantyne, Eclectic Soapbox

Yes, it’s easier, faster and free to simply post “Happy Birthday!” on someone’s Facebook page or fire off a quick e-mail or text but I don’t think the impact on the recipient is quite the same as a good old-fashioned card.

“Technology has turned the way we communicate upside down. Sometimes emails become more of a bane than blessing. Receiving emails and texts are fun, but nothing replaces reaching into your mailbox and discovering a handwritten card that reminds you how much you’re adored.”

Margaret Feinberg

Personally, the fun of receiving e-mails ended a long time ago. With more than a thousand unread e-mails sitting in my inbox at any given time (despite my best attempts at trying to keep up), it isn’t excitement or anticipation I feel when I open my e-mail – it’s dread.

Sure, I receive lots of wonderful e-mails with good news and valuable information but the sheer volume of incoming e-mails is overwhelming.

But when I open my real mail box and actually see a greeting-card sized envelope with my name and address handwritten on the front, now that is fun! Unfortunately, it happens less and less often – and usually just around my birthday or at Christmas.

From an environmental, waste-reduction perspective, I’m happy to see the shift away from sending greeting cards in the mail. But from a human-relationship perspective, I’m not so sure.

Here are a few more samples of our new photo greeting cards:

Visit Our On-Line Store to See Full Selection

Please visit the Pink Gazelle on-line store to view the complete selection of our themed packs of photo greeting cards. The cards are available in packs of 5 ($19.95 and free shipping).

Special End of Season Offer

From now until Jan 31st, 2017, with the purchase of a 5-pack of cards from the Pink Gazelle on-line store, we’ll give you a second 5-pack (your choice) for free (so that’s 10 cards for $19.95 and free shipping)!

Once you have ordered your first 5-pack, we will e-mail you to find out which second 5-pack you would like 🙂

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on sending cards in the mail

Are you sending out Christmas cards this year? Do you send thank you cards? Do you teach your children to send thank you cards? Do you mail birthday cards?

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Using Creativity to Bring More Joy & Beauty to the World

Cute Christmas Cards Capture Re-purposing Chic

Browsers, Buyers & Banning Husbands – Post-Game Analysis of Craft Show

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

Still on the lookout for Christmas Gifts?


Our Wise Owl Wisdom Inspirational Quote Cards make a great stocking stuffer…for the quote-lover on your list!

$7.95 for 1 set (30 cards per set) or $14.95 for 2 sets

Please click here for details.

Here is the link to purchase through our on-line store.