Helping the Children of Ukraine

You’ve all been watching the news. You know what’s happening. You know children in Ukraine are suffering. There is no need for me to repeat this information. What you may not know is what you can do to help. Here is one small way that you can.

Nashi, which means “Our Children”, is a Canadian charity that seeks to educate people about human trafficking. The organization has a safehouse for at-risk young girls in Ukraine, however all the girls have been temporarily evacuated to Poland due to the war in Ukraine. Starting from today and until further notice, I am contributing 100% of my royalties from my memoir, A Squatter in London, to this volunteer-run organization. That includes the e-book as well as the paperback version. Buy the book. Tell your friends. Share this post.

Despite references to my Ukrainian heritage and culture, the main theme of my book, A Squatter in London is not about Ukraine or Ukrainian children. However, if you are interested in reading about my travel experiences to then-Soviet Ukraine in 1982, I have contributed a chapter entitled Meeting My Grandmother to another author’s book. If you enjoy non-fiction, in particular autobiographies and memoirs, pick up a copy of Wish You Were Here. The book is an anthology of 20 different travel stories, expertly-curated by Alyson Sheldrake.

99 cent Book Sale

Do you wonder what life was like in the Seventies? Do you like to travel? Do you like to read true stories from a bygone era? Better yet, did you live in the wild and crazy Seventies? If this describes you, this book might be just what you’re looking for.

US Readers: My memoir, A Squatter In London, is only 99 cents for a short time. Grab your copy now before it goes up in price.

Cyber Week Book Discounts

It may still be Cyber Monday for a short while, but these books, including A Squatter in London, are discounted all week! Sale ends December 8th. Get your Christmas shopping done early. Buy now!

My memoir, A Squatter in London, is only $0.99US. The paperback is also available for only $11.99 – and you get the added benefit of laughing at photos taken of me in the 1970s!

Of course, my short (very short!) story, Farmers’ Daughters is always FREE just by joining my mailing list.

Just click on this link to see the fine selection of biographies and memoirs written by ordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives.

Online Selling Culture

Part 1: The Wood Wardrobe

I did it! After nearly 30 years, I moved from my “forever home”. Because the move was over 600 km to another province, I wasn’t keen on moving ALL my stuff, especially the heavy furniture. What to do?

Family members expressed interest in a couple of antique heirlooms, but the issue of the old wardrobe remained. This clunky, old piece of furniture was a permanent fixture (or so I thought!) in my parent’s bedroom on a farm in small-town Saskatchewan. It housed not only my parent’s clothing but my and my brother’s clothes as well. Not to mention a box of chocolates at Christmas and a bottle of Martini & Rossi vermouth that my uncle would bring every summer my city cousins came to visit. My parents did not imbibe in alcoholic beverages. Yet, for some reason, when my uncle brought a new bottle of vermouth at the next visit, he was surprised that the level in the previous bottle had not dropped.

When my parents moved to town, the old wardrobe did not find its way to their new residence. So, when I bought my forever home, I was keen on taking possession of this piece of furniture. I had my own graphic design business at the time, and it was the perfect size for storing my paper samples, trade magazines and art supplies.

A trip to the vacant farmhouse revealed squatters had invaded the old wardrobe; a family of mice made it their home. They were given their walking papers whilst I thoroughly cleaned and disinfected my prize possession. A trip to the hardware store resulted in a purchase of several boards, l-brackets and screws which I immediately put to good use by creating several shelves within the top portion of the wardrobe. I also installed some corkboard on which to tack memos and inspirational quotes to one end of the unit.

When the time came to move from my forever home, I was torn about what to do with the wardrobe. On the one hand it was utilitarian and a sentimental piece to part with. On the other, it was old, clunky and heavy. I toyed with the idea of removing the handles and getting it hauled to the dump. But then I remembered Kijiji. That’s it! I’ll post it on the online selling site and maybe someone will find a new purpose for it.

Rapidly, I took photos of the unit from several angles, including the inside, and placed an ad. After three days, Sahid (not his real name) is the only person who seems interested.

“Is this still available?” he asks.

“Yes.” I respond.

“What are the dimensions?”

That is posted in the ad, but I repeat the information.

“Will you take $40 for it?” he asks, quoting a price under the amount I’m asking.

“Why don’t you come to view it first to ensure you really want it?”

“I can tell what it looks like by the picture. But I want to see the complete inside. Can you take a picture of the other half?”

I explain that the other half is exactly the same as the photographed half.

“Do you deliver?”


“How heavy is it? I need to know so I can hire a truck.”

I explain that I have never lifted it myself and suggest, once again that he come by to have a look at it.

“I can come today. 7 pm?”

I have another potential buyer stopping by to view another sales item at 6:30 pm. I agree with the scheduled arrangement and await his arrival. I wait. And wait. I haven’t had dinner yet and I’m starting to get really hungry and more than a little frustrated. Plus, it will be dark soon and I’m not crazy about letting strangers into my house after dark.

At 8pm, I message him, “Are you coming to view the wardrobe tonight?”

“I’m still at the office. Tomorrow at 7pm?”

He better be here tomorrow, I grumble inwardly.

Tomorrow comes and goes and still no Sahid.

“Are you still interested in the wardrobe?” I message him.

“Bought another one.”

A lovely couple, Connie (not her real name), with teenage son and driver in tow, arrive to view the wardrobe a few days later. Well, at least the wife was lovely. She fawns at the wardrobe.

“This is perfect for the lake!” she enthuses. “My water can go here at the bottom and my blankets and extra clothes over here.”

Her husband, meanwhile, does not share her enthusiasm. He assesses the size of the wardrobe and the best way to exit the house. I recommend the back door as the most direct route. He grumbles and proceeds to pick up the heavy end of the wood wardrobe.

“What do you want this for, anyway?” he asks Connie as he grunts and farts from the effort.

“Excuse him,” says Connie to me in aside. And off the family of three trundle with their prized possession.

Stay tuned to part 2 of the online selling culture when I write about the sale of my barbeque.

If you enjoyed this story and want to read more, get your exclusive FREE short story Farmers’ Daughters just by joining our mailing list.