Lions, tigers, bears, a cow, a pig, a crow…

I’m pretty excited about an upcoming book from Nimbus Publishing called In the Company of Animals: Stories of Extraordinary Encounters, edited by my pal Pam Chamberlain. Due out in September (familly members, you know what your Christmas gift will be this year), this anthology features stories about Canadians’ brushes – long term and fleeting – with animals. From the Nimbus catalogue: “Animals fascinate us humans, and we related to them in a variety of ways. Whether we view them as companions, as workmates, as symbols, as totems, or as food, animals matter to us…38 writers from across Canada tell thought-provoking stories of extraorindary encounters with animals…these writers are people who pay attention to animals, their natures and personalities and what they can teach us, and they ask us to pay attention, too.”

I’m honoured to be one of those 38 writers with my summertime romance story about Russell Crow. Congratulations to Pam and her assembled animal enthusiasts.

If you love animals, you’ll love this book! And you can get your holiday shopping done in one place.

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That’s our boy

Very proud of our youngest, Benjamin, touring on keys with Rhye in the past few weeks. Denmark, Norway, Calgary’s Sled Island Festival and just last night, Massey Hall in Toronto. We hoofed it out to Calgary and spent a few rainy hours with Ben before sound check, before the show and afterwards. Ben introduced us to the band, all lovely people, and all so complimentary of Ben and his musicianship. They almost didn’t need spotlights because of our beaming faces in the sold out crowd at the Central United Church. First shot is one of the Schwier men before the show. At the church. Then that’s Ben on stage about a week ago in Aarhus, Denmark, photo by our favourite daughter-in-law Julia. Finally a picture I found online of the show last night in Toronto. Wish we could have been at all of them!




Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

I think it’s pretty safe to say my father is unique among Dads! Thanks, Dad, for passing on your love of books, animals, and the great outdoors. Math, sorry, not so much :) My Dad has steadfastly refused to live a conventional life so has always been a source of amazement, pride, and entertainment for my brother and me. Early lessons about getting our chores done, and by extension whatever the job might be, set us up for a willingness to work for what we want in life. Dad taught me to balance a chequebook, save money first, where to look for the Big Dipper, and to treat all animals with the same care you would treat people. “Slugs have feeings, too.”

Here’s my Dad when he was known as “Freddie” – the bookworm in the apple of my Grandma Melberg’s eye.


And here he is below, sweeping my Mom off her feet on their honeymoon – just the two of them in a riverboat plying the Athabasca River in the early 1950s. This wasn’t exactly an all-inclusive, but they were happy to find a trapper’s cabin to stay in one night. Shh, if you put your ear to your computer, you can hear mosquitoes!

Have a good day, Dad! And thanks for everything.

Your youngest kid,