Fun & Games

Dust Off Your Bowling Shoes!

This installment of the continuing series about the community in City Central features Dell Lanes and Lounge —the place for bowling fun in the historic Whalley area since 1959. The entire article is posted here.

As the door swings open to the entrance of Dell Lanes and Lounge, the thunder of bowling balls rumbling down the alley assails the senses. The unmistakeable crash of falling pins herald a strike amid cheers from the sidelines. The cacophony brings back a nostalgic feeling. How long has it been since I have been in a bowling alley?

Dell Lanes has been in operation in Surrey for 58 years, providing the community with the ages old entertainment of five-pin bowling. (Factoid: Thomas Ryan invented 5 pin bowling in Toronto in 1909, in response to complaints of his customers that the ten-pin ball was too heavy and the game was too slow. Five pin bowling is only played in Canada! — Bowl Ontario 5 Pin.)

The Dell Lanes bowling alley has been owned by the Cooper family since 2002 and today, is managed by a family member, Kayla Cooper. “I basically grew up here,” she grins “I have pictures of me as a toddler happily playing around the lanes. I first started working as a pin chaser when I was 16 and worked my way through the ranks from the kitchen to finally, manager.”

Bowling has had its surges in popularity over the years and Kayla says that today the sport is most popular with families, kids and college students looking for something fun to do that won’t break the bank.

Read the entire article on Surrey604,com

Around & About

Still Walking Around Whalley’s Corner

In this next excerpt from the continuing series, Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner — I write about Whalley Optical Centre — taking care of the community’s eyewear needs for nearly 4 decades. Read the entire article and see more photos here.

Whalley Optical

When you walk into Whalley Optical Centre, on 107th and King George Boulevard, in the historic town centre of Whalley, it feels like any other optical store. Rows of glasses frames line the walls and fill the display cases on the floor. Posters of models wearing designer “specs” hang on the walls. Then, Lutz Sprecher, owner and licensed optician, walks out of the back room and you know that this store different. “This is an ‘old school’ optical establishment.” Lutz says with a glimmer of pride in his eyes.

“We have our own lab where we grind lenses to fit into frames as well as carry out eyewear repairs, something that you don’t find in optical stores these days.” He adds, “We offer old fashioned service we take the time to talk to our customers, we listen to them so that we can fulfill their needs and make sure they leave thrilled with their new glasses.”

Whalley Optical Centre was opened by Sprecher’s father in 1978, back in the days when the area was Surrey’s business hub. There were four banks and retail stores all around, until Surrey Place Mall (now named Central City mall) opened and the businesses moved closer to 104th. “I was schooled in opticianry by my dad, who was an optician trained in Germany and I started working in the shop part-time.”

Read the entire article on Surrey604,com


Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner — Part III

In part three of the continuing series, Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner — this excerpt is from an article introducing Manis Restaurant  — that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine. Read the entire article and see more photos here.

Wendy, from Manis Restaurant

Manis Restaurant is a relative newcomer to the Surrey dining scene, having opened their doors three years ago in the middle of the historic community of Whalley in City Centre, just steps away from Whalley’s Corner.

A fresh dining experience for local diners seeking something different, Manis offers a unique menu best described as Pan Asian. The focus is on dishes from Southeast Asia ranging from the authentic plates of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to various tastes from India. Diners can expect traditional dishes along side original fusion dishes that blend time-honoured recipes with new, trendier concoctions.

Manis is a family-owned eatery tucked into a trendy mixed-use building on Whalley Boulevard. Wendy Lee, a family member who manages the floor, warmly greets every customer as they walk in the door — her sunny disposition instantly creating a welcoming mood. The restaurant is intimate and cozy with a minimalist, but warm décor. The main floor offers seating for 26 with additional room for 16 on the mezzanine level.

Read the rest at


Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner — Part II

Part 2 — an excerpt from an article — part two of a series that spotlights businesses and individuals located in the historic Whalley District in Surrey, BC — that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine. Read the entire article and see more photos here.

In this installment, meet Dean Camfferman, owner of Surrey Natural Foods. This health food store has been open in the same location for 45 years.

Surrey Natural Foods
Dean Camfferman and his son Dan

As you enter Surrey Natural Foods, you are enveloped by a pleasant mix of scents — spices, essential oils and natural soaps blending with the earthy aroma of grains and yeasts. You are likely to be welcomed into the shop by Scout, the official greeter — he is the sweetest dog you will ever meet!

The store is filled with shelves of natural and organic flours, teas, dried foods, and health products along with natural beauty and grooming products.

This locally owned shop has been serving the community of Whalley since 1972 — offering customers bulk products, essential oils, groceries, supplements, tinctures and more. Dean, the current owner, is a dedicated proponent of the natural food and health movement and is happy to help people learn about the benefits of embracing this lifestyle.

Read the rest on Surrey604,com


On Writing…

Blog Post #275

Writing, writing, writing… I’m still trying to keep up with this “postaday” wordpress thing. It takes up quite a lot of time — coming up with ideas, researching if necessary and writing the piece. It’s challenging and sometimes frustrating, but also fun.


One of the challenges that I’ve faced is the dreaded typo — whether it’s a simple case of a misspelled word or a word used incorrectly — it seems that no matter how diligently I check, one little mistake often sneaks through my most stringent “eagle eyes”. It’s so embarrassing to catch a mistake after it’s been live for week!

I like to do a little research, looking for writing hacks, tips and lists to help me hone my writing and reduce errors. It seems as if a lot of people have trouble with grammar and spelling — there are many articles written on subjects such as: “the 30 worst grammar mistakes you make everyday”, “the top ten words you are using incorrectly” and “a short primer on the English language”.

As I was reading some of these articles, I came across one entry that really irritates me — the use of the words: “peek” and “peak”.

The incorrect usage of these words makes me crazy!

I cannot believe how many times I have see this out there in the world wide web — sentences like the following: “Click this link for a sneak peak at our newest product” AAAARRRGGGG!!

Spell check won’t catch that baby, so it is up to you to notice when you’ve used this word incorrectly.

Read on for tips to help you avoid this mistake.

Peek is a quick look at something – Jane took a quick peek behind the curtain to see if all was ready.

Peak is the pointed top of anything or the highest or most important level or point – The hikers climbed to the peak of the mountain.  Or: She retired at the peak of her political career.

So in other words, peek is a look — and peak is a sharp point.

Have I piqued your interest?


I Have Six Words for You

Blog Post #174

Lately, I have seen an interesting writing genre — the six word memoir or six word story.

An interesting concept, don’t you agree?

I thought that I would give it a try — how difficult can it be — a story in only six words? Well, just so you know, it’s not as easy as you’d think to come up with an entire story in six words.

Intrigued? Read the creative and unique short (I mean really short!!) stories or share your own at Six-Word Memoirs® from Smith magazine. It’s great fun and an excellent brain workout to try to compose your own — you can read my attempt below the photo.


Food, wine, friends. It’s a party!







What’s In My Purse?

Blog Post #7

What’s in my purse? I’m not sure that you really want to know.

I was racking my brains for something to write for today’s blog post — frantically tearing my hair out trying to come up with some kind of a topic  — when I noticed my handbag innocently sitting on a chair. I thought, what if I dumped the contents out, took a photo and wrote a post about the contents of my bag? Eureka! I had thought of such a unique blog  article! Wrong – it’s already been done!!

I just found out that this topic — what’s in your bag? What’s in your purse? — is a kind of a thing on the web. I found so many sites with this theme! Who knew? I guess I missed that boat!

Well, I had already upended my purse and the contents lay in a heap on the floor AND I still hadn’t thought of a better topic. So… here’s a little glimpse of the real me — or at least, a peek inside my real purse!


The Contents:

  1. A book. I always have one in my bag. I never know when I’ll get a chance to get a little reading in! This one is Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt.
  2. An apple. Emergency snack?
  3. Keys. Well, everyone has keys in their purse!
  4. Cell phone. Yup!
  5. Itty bitty measuring tape. You know, for measuring stuff!
  6. A lab requisition form. Ahh, yes… gotta get that done!
  7. A little case. For safekeeping receipts.
  8. A hairbrush. Hey, I didn’t know that was in there!
  9. A memory stick. I might need to copy something…
  10. Cheques?? Can’t remember the last time I wrote a cheque!!
  11. Card pouch. (along wth a kajillion cards: debit card, credit cards, id, several points cards, etc.)
  12. Three Lottery tickets! Hmm.…maybe I’m a millionaire right now!
  13.  A five dollar bill. Cash — who uses cash these days?
  14. A book mark. See number 1.
  15. Another bookmark!!?
  16. A coaster. I slipped it into my purse while at a restaurant.
  17. Sunglasses. Purse essential. Even in Vancouver.
  18. Small coin purse. And coins.
  19. A little moleskin. To write notes in.
  20. Three teeny oranges. I better eat those!!
  21. Phone charger. So I can always call/text you.
  22. Various business cards — some are mine! (I obviously need a card case)
  23. Lots of pens. To write in the little moleskine (see #19)
  24. $1.25 Gloves. My hands get cold!!
  25. My Compass card. (I use public transit).
  26. Point & Shoot Camera. Say “Cheese”!
  27. Exhibitor’s nametag for the BC Home + Garden Show
  28. Ikea receipt. Why isn’t this in my little receipt case?? (see #7)
  29. Pay stub.
  30. Crumpled bits of paper. Probably receipts — they should be in that receipt case…
  31. Hand cream. It smells so good and makes my hands feel so soft.

That’s everything (right now!) and it all lives in my purse pretty much as you see it here. Maybe that’s why I can never find anything in there!

Check out some of the sites and pages that I found about the “things in your bag!”
Natasha MR What’s Actually in Your Bag Right Now? – from the Hairpin
Flickr Group: What’s in Your Bag?
What’s in Your Bag? A Tumblr Blog
What’s in His/Her Bag? A website
What’s in Your Bag? A website
Mya Williams: Ladies, Let’s See What’s in Your Handbag! A blog post
Watch the video: What’s in My Purse!

What’s in your bag/purse? Let me know in the comments section!


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #07

Brynne's Daily Drawing #07


Just Do It…

1-1234699141PRLFI have been in quite a slump lately — going months without writing a blog post, sporadically posting here and there. What’s up with that?!

I enjoy writing, for me, it is a great creative outlet. Maybe that’s the problem. My job as a marketing coordinator requires a lot of creative work — dreaming up unique print ads, putting together a newsletter, crafting a weekly company blog post and other design-y things. Most days my brain hurts!! So I have a good excuse to NOT tackle my own blog or social media, right?

Okay, I know, I know! That kind of thinking is simply a cop out — writing for my own blog is completely different than writing for work. It’s a lot more fun and easier, too! I’m the expert on my “random musings” and I can expound on any topic that I like! I just have to sit down and start typing. Resisting the urge to launch “Words With Friends” would probably help a lot too!! [grins sheepishly]

So, today, I am making a change. Today, I am starting my mission to write a blog-post-a-day. Yikes, did I just put that in writing?!!

Yes, yes, I did. It’s a promise to myself — made in public — that will, hopefully, compel me to post on a consistent basis every day!

The inspiration for this challenging adventure didn’t come from anything on the internet. Oh, sure, I have taken up many online “dares” – the annual Good Reads challenge, blog every day for a month on WordPress, that kind of thing. But somehow, I always found an excuse to let it all go — a bad day, or a long day, or  too much housework. Housework? Yeah, right. Take this year — so far I have read 5 out of 50 books for Good Reads’ 2016 Challenge. That’s only 10% of the entire goal — and Good Reads let me know that I am already six books behind!!! Aaarghh!!

No, the idea for this new challenge came from my lovely daughter, Brynne. A talented and imaginative artist, she has experienced the same sort of ennui when it comes to creating her art. Between job searching, and working part-time, she has gone through dry periods where she does no art at all. That all changed when she decided to do a “drawing-a-day” for a year and post them on Instagram.  Kind of like the “Daily Practice Challenge” that Opus Art Supplies held during the month of February, only longer.

#01She started on February 1, and has now done more than 50 drawings — now that’s inspiring!! This is her first one – #cute, eh?

WARNING! The following paragraph is a shameless plug!! If you know of anyone who needs some illustration work, let me know — Brynne is open to commissions, contract and freelance work. If you would like to contact her or if you are interested in her art, you can follow brynnejohnston on Instagram, visit her weebly site, or check out her work on Behance.

Anyway, a spark was lit — Brynne’s daily illustrations have inspired me to write a blog post every day for a year. I realize that a post doesn’t have to be pithy, long, or even relevant to anything that is going in the world at large (or my little world, for that matter.) All I need to do is — write. Write something every day and post it on my blog. That’s it! Who knows, maybe my writing will improve with so much practice! Maybe some people will find my posts interesting or amusing. But that doesn’t matter. All I know is that it feels good to make the decision to “just do it!”

So this is it — Blog Post #1. There’s no going back now…unless I have a mountain of dishes to do…

I’d love to know what you think about blogging, your tips for battling writer’s block, your creative outlets — or whatever! Please share your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to call me out if I miss a day!

Oh, I will be posting Brynne’s drawings, too, so check back to see them — Day 2 drawing coming up tomorrow!