Archive for Family Posts

published in Children, Family, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | October 20, 2019 | 6 Comments

G’Day From Down Under


Wee Rosie

“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.”

– Leo Christopher

G’Day Mate…how ya goin’?

Ace, I hope! I am in Perth, Western Australia this week, visiting rellies: my niece, Kylie, her husband, Colm, and their two adorable ankle-biters, Liam (4) and Rosie (2). I am Liam & Rosie’s Great Auntie!

The Captain America shield just flew across the room, so I shall keep this blog short then return to the task at hand 🙂

This trip has been all about getting to know & playing with the sprogs…and that we have done spectacularly well, if I say so myself.

Here are a few snaps:

Super excited Liam at Rockingham beach…we both swam!


Rockingham beach


Moo-stache (Rosie’s nickname is Moo Goo or Moo for short)


Liam on tractor at the Crooked Carrot Cafe & Park


MA & Moo picnic in the park

And, just to keep my single-gal sanity in check, there has also been a daily solo escape to the lovely local beach:

Secret Harbour beach

Sometimes I even sneak off TWICE a day, to catch the sunset:

Love this shot of me & Ky at Dophin Quay (just seems like yesterday she was Rosie’s age):


And this is the beach at Dolphin Quay…wow!

That’s it, that’s all for now…have a good week & catch ya later!

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 weekly blog, please sign up here.



published in Death, Family, Grief, Life After Loss, Motherhood by Maryanne | December 5, 2018 | No Comment

This the 3rd blog in the Fall 2018 Life After Loss blog series:

When a Fear Demands to be Faced – Letting Hurt OUT


My friend Alan once said to me that perhaps not all our fears are meant to be faced. Some fears, he suggested, are best left alone – for they just might be in place for a good reason.

Some fears, on the other hand, demand to be faced. These are the ones that find their way to the surface and, like a tiger, make their presence known.

For while we can pretend, for a time, not to see an elephant in the living room; when a tiger waltzes in, we don’t get the luxury of ignoring it…if we want to survive, that is.

Such was my experience the day after my Mom passed away in the spring of 2014.

She died quite suddenly on a Monday morning. It was my brother Doug who phoned to tell me the news. By Monday evening, I was back in my hometown of Calgary with my family. Tuesday morning, we went to the funeral home to get the logistics sorted. After that, some of us piled into Doug’s truck and we went to the grocery store to pick up the makings for lunch.

And that, strangely enough, is when things fell apart.

When Doug and Pat returned to the truck from the store, they were carrying the groceries in plastic bags. And for some reason, I ignored the voice of reason in my head that said, “Don’t say anything. Don’t say anything. This is not the time to mention they should have taken re-usable bags.”

But of course, what did I say?

“You shouldn’t be using plastic bags.”

This, not surprisingly, was akin to poking an already wounded tiger – my brother Doug – in the bottom with a nice sharp stick.


Now prior to this, I had never fought with my brother, Doug, in my life. And trust me, I never will again. Doug is one of my greatest fans. He gets me like no one else. I can do no wrong. This time, however, I did do wrong – and he let me know it. Let’s just say the drive back to my Mom’s apartment was a very loud and fast one, with Doug and I screaming at each other the entire way about who has the worst environmental footprint. Thankfully, the rest of the family members in the truck had the wisdom to know not to intervene but rather just let this play out— and hope to God they lived to see another day.

Now, I would like to say that by the time Doug and I got back to my Mom’s apartment, we had cooled down. But no. In fact, I think we were even angrier at each other by that point. So I jumped out of the truck, stomped over to the building entrance and yanked open the door, smashing it against a bench. Then I ran up the stairs and into my Mom’s apartment, past the concerned faces of my other family members who didn’t know yet what had happened, and into the guest bedroom. And then I did what I always do when I don’t know how to handle my feelings: I wrote.

Ten minutes later, I emerged from the guest bedroom – at the exact same time Doug was coming out of the bathroom directly across the hall. And before I even had to time to think, I threw my arms around him.

“I am SO sorry!!” I wailed. “This isn’t about the plastic bags! I WANT MY MOM!”

And then the oddest thing happened…something that has never happened to me before. I began to sob uncontrollably on Doug’s shoulder. It was ugly. It was messy. It was embarrassing. And it turned out to be the smartest thing I ever could have done.

Doug and I moved into the guest bedroom and sat, side by side, on the bed. And the best way to describe what happened next was that it felt like there was an alien inside me, trying to get out. By this point, I wasn’t just sobbing, I was heaving.

Doug wasn’t mad at me anymore; I think he thought I was possessed.

“Googie,” he said, using my childhood nickname. “What is wrong?”

“I can’t do this!” I cried.

“Do what?” he asked.

I turned to him and heard myself say, “Live the rest of my life without a Mom.”

And there it was: my fear of being motherless. That’s the alien that had been trying to get out. That was the tiger.

“You don’t have our Mom anymore,” he said. “But you still have all of us. And we will always be there for you.”

I managed a smile. “I know.”

“And for the record,” he continued, “I usually do use re-useable bags. I just didn’t happen to have any in my truck today…and it was the last thing on my mind.”

I nodded. “It was completely inappropriate of me to say something, today of all days.”

“Actually,” he said, “knowing you, it kinda makes sense. Because our Mom was just like Mother Nature…tough as they come and, in the end, she was going to do what she was going to do. Just like Mom, Mother Nature always wins in the end. Don’t you forget that, Maryanne. We are pushing Mother Nature to her limits and it’s just a matter of time before she really starts to bite back.”

As it turned out, my meltdown on Doug’s shoulder turned out to be very therapeutic, partly because it was such a physical release of the hurt, and partly because it brought to the surface a deeply rooted fear of abandonment. I cried after my Mom’s death like I never could after my husband, John’s, death – probably because I was absolutely terrified of facing the fact that I had been left behind.

But if I could turn back the clock and go back to John’s death, I would say to heck with the stoicism crap – and proceed to have the most spectacular meltdown/s imaginable.

Because now I know that the sooner the hurt and fears are out, the sooner we can heal.

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. To subscribe to the Life After Loss blog series, please sign up here


published in Christmas, Family, Food, Humour by Maryanne | December 4, 2018 | 6 Comments

Christmas Cake & the Art of People-Watching


MA at the Pink Gazelle Cards & Creations table, Calgary Christmas Market

“You can observe a lot by just watching.”

– Yogi Berra

I may need to leave my writing hobbit hole more often…

My social graces seem to be slipping. Case in point was the Christmas Cake incident at the Calgary Christmas Market this past weekend. All in all, it was an excellent four days. Sales at the Pink Gazelle Cards & Creations table were strong and plenty of my Calgary peeps stopped by to say hi…it was one reunion after another as well as a few first-time meetings!

There were, however, some periods of down-time – during which I would either Instagram to my heart’s content or people-watch…which I should know, by the age of 50, is an art. Done correctly, it can be a brilliant study in anthropological behavior. Done poorly, it can quickly denigrate into just plain rudeness. I shall leave it to up to you to decide which category the Christmas Cake incident falls under ☹

Picture this, if you will: there I am, sitting at my table in the aisle, minding my own business and contemplating which snack to eat next, and up walks this beautiful bi-racial young family. The guy is black, handsome and massive. The woman is white, pretty and proudly carrying their new baby in her arms. Their 3-year-old adorable little boy toddles alongside, toy truck in hand. Another white guy, about my age, follows behind. He seems to be with them but doesn’t say much (I eventually figure out he is the woman’s father…not because I’m brilliant but because she said, “Dad, do you have seventy-five cents?”).

Anyway, they all stop at the vendor across from me and proceed to have an in-depth conversation about whether or not to buy a vaporizer. For some reason, I find this family absolutely fascinating. But I don’t want to be rude and stare too much, so I reach into my backpack and pull out a piece of Christmas cake and in between bites, sneak glances at them.

Now bear in mind, they are only two feet away from me. I suspect my fascination trumps my ability to be discreet because right after I take a very large bite of cake, the guy turns around and looks right at me. Unfortunately, I have bitten off more than I can chew (which happens more often than not, with both food and life in general), so at the very moment he turns around to look at me, there is a large piece of Christmas cake half in my mouth and half out.

Our eyes meet. I am mortified. Busted!

Then he takes a step towards me. So I bite the damn cake in half, madly chew the part that’s in my mouth and put the other half back into the plastic wrap in my hand. By this point, the guy is now standing about a foot away from me and says, in a deep rumbling voice, “Is that rum cake?”

I shake my head, wide-eyed. I can’t answer because my mouth is full (which would be rude…oh, like I haven’t been rude enough?!).

He takes a step closer to get a better look at the remnants of crumbled cake in my hand. “It looks like the rum cake we have in Jamaica,” he says.

Then the little blonde head of his tiny wife peeks around her massive husband and she adds her two bits to the conversation. “No,” she says, after a quick assessment of the situation. “That is not rum cake. That’s Christmas cake.”

Then she turns back to the business of choosing a vaporizer. The man looks at me and shrugs. The conversation is over. As are my days of staring at people…unless I’m wearing sunglasses.

A few photos of the Pink Gazelle Cards & Creations table and some of my visitors:


L to R: Ashling, MA & Rebecca


MA & Cheryl


L to R: Camille, Danielle & MA

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.