Loving MEN: Call him Al by Tanya Lester

December 5, 2019

Today I am beginning a new blog. It is about the men with which I have had intimate relationships and maybe some who were ‘only’ friends. I loved these men then fought with them and then ended each relationship.

Now coming up to my sixty-fourth birthday, I realize how each one of them helped me grow in my life and I do not have anything but tender feelings towards them. I believe working on this blog will help me ever more to reflect and expand on how each of these relationships enriched my life.

This is about the man I had sex with for the first time and the first one I ever shared a tent and two different apartments with. To paraphrase a Paul Simon song:

Call him Al

I still see him in my mind’s eye: how perfectly gorgeous he was.

There he was sitting with his clan of guy friends in the middle of the experimental high school I went to.  Long, beautifully thick blonde hair. Silver wire rimmed glasses. A white t-shirt fitting just right over his torso and nicely faded blue jeans.

It was the 1970’s. What a time to be going to high school. My girlfriends and I smoked cigarillos — a sort of cigarette and cigar clone — on the front lawn of Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive School where we all attended high school in Selkirk, Manitoba just an hour drive north of Winnipeg and more than an hour’s bus ride south where I lived, the middle daughter of three girls in Victoria Beach, Manitoba, Canada.

Once I started staying over night in the basement of Al’s parents’ house, I found out that he had this habit of stashing partially smoked Player’s filtered cigarettes in little nooks and crannies all over the place.

Of course we smoked marijuana. Maybe we dropped acid together as well. I know I did acid in high school.

Later, when we were a couple, I asked Al what he had liked about me, what had made him stare across the Commons sunken carpeted steps in the middle of the school at me for quite some time before he ever mustered the courage to ask me out.

“Did you think I was good looking?,” I asked.

“To me you looked… different,” he said.

Different. Of course, part of me wanted him to say I looked beautiful but really I was proud and he had got it right. I still do look different.

Many young women in high school primped and preened in the washrooms in order to appeal to the likes of a guy like Al. They stood in front of the mirrors and pinched their cheeks to look like they were not really anemic. They rolled eye liner on. Made sure their jeans fit nice and close to their asses.

When Al and I started dating, we turned those young women’s heads. They just did not see it coming that I would be the chosen one.

Being the leader of Al’s pack, I would sit next to him in his navy Dodge (I think) with a white roof. Packed in to the rest of the front and back seats were all of the men who rode with him. His friends. They mostly were from around St. Andrew’s an area a bit south of Selkirk that roped along the Red River that began in Manitoba and ended in somewhere in the deep south of the United States of America.

One winter around Easter, when Al and I were living in the better of the two apartments we shared during our relationship, going stir crazy with cabin fever, we jumped in the car and based on what I believe was my idea decided to drive straight south until we reached a place south enough to leave the snow behind.

It was soooo much fun. A road trip is a WONDERFUL thing. There we went cruising through North Dakota, South Dakota and so on and so forth. I think it was in Nebraska where we left all but patches of snow behind.

When we got out of the car, the air was damp and cool to breathe in. But we did not need to wear our parkas.

As if the Universe wanted to throw a celebration for Al and me, we saw a hot air balloon sitting in a corner of a field of what remained of a wheat field, cropped close to the ground like stubble on a man’s chin that had not been razored in three days.

The guy, a tall dirty blond haired young man, who owned the balloon was just hanging out with it. We asked if we could go up in it. We did, with fire flaring out of its bottom under the place we three stood below the balloon. It did not go up high but I think it was right then, at that moment that I decided there could be really almost nothing better in the world than the adventure of travel…

To be continued

Tanya Lester, BA and master tea leaf reader, ekes out a living as a tea leaf and tarot reader. She is also a reiki master and an almost full time housesitter.  To read more about her unique life style, go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com







The last post in this blog series

November 4, 2019

All things come to an end (sort of) so this is my last post (I think) for this blog.

Canadian Dimension

March 1990

excerpt from an article on single parenting

by Tanya Lester

Isolation, overwork and other obstacles

Of course, the isolation and overwork is something coupled parents experience, too. For single parents, the difference is its severity and the consequences.

John Young became a sole parent of a five and a two-year-old at the age of 20 and after his partner was no longer able due to chemical dependency. For the next five years, until his mother offered to take the children on Saturdays, Young’s social life was non-existent. He was determined to give his children the emotional attention he felt he had not received growing up in a single-parent family. At the same time, he working as a laborer in a farm machinery factory. To cope with “constantly being tired,” Young took speed in the mornings and valium in the evenings. He had to seek treatment eventually.

And, if it is not one government department or institution, it is another. When I applied for an income supplement from the Manitoba government, I discovered applicants are required to spend time, bus fare and postage stamps to round up income tax returns even when we are also required to sign a statement allowing provincial government officials to do so. On top of that, recipients are obligated to make a new application each year in order to continue to receive the $30 per month from CRISP (Child Related Income Supplement Plan.) A small return investment in the time and money expended by a societal group that already has so little of both.

One woman I interviewed decided to become a single parent after she graduated from university as a pharmacist. Financially, she was set but she thought there should be more to life that “just making money.” After she had her daughter, however, the man who ‘fathered’ the child decided to sue for joint custody.

When the woman sought help from legal aid, she was told selling her house would allow her to qualify. Attempting to avoid a costly legal battle (she was working only part time,) she agreed to enter mediation. The mediator, who was a social worker, assumed that the woman’s case should be treated like any other custody battle even though the former boyfriend had never lived with the mother and daughter, had never contributed money and chose to cut off contact when the child became seriously ill. In the end, a judge did award the woman full custody but with a considerable financial setback to her because of the legal costs.

…..When Pat Rawson worked as financial editor at HERizons magazine, her two children often accompanied her to the office. They participated in the work instead of being separated from their mother’s place of employment. Two years later, Rawson says her 10 and her 12-year-old still miss no longer being able to help with the mailout.

Rawson could count on her co-workers to help, for example, to take her children to the bus stop if she was not available to do so.

The kind of cooperation the Rawson family enjoyed in the workplace must be extended into our home life. For Rawson, it is. Her children’s “second home” is a two-paented family with four children where they are welcome to drop in any time. The same is true of a women’s bookstore where Rawson’s friends work.

Co-op housing

Catherine Maria and her seven children have recently moved into a housing cooperative. (The Manitoba government began to encourage cooperative housing under the Pawley NDP government.) She found sitting on the planning board buil her self-esteem and reduced her isolation as cooperative living encourages socializing with her neighbors.

Unversity of Winnipeg student Chris Kolba has been making some headway in organizing a housing cooperative for single parents. She attends that university. Kolba can envision the cooperative as having separate suites for individual families with a common space where parents can, for instance, take turns preparing supper for all the children while freeing others to attend evening classes or social events. A small paind staff could provide continuity and ensure an adequate child care centre and family room.

Kolba believes both parents and children would benefit from this type of living environment for several reasons. The parents would have more support and, for that reason, would be less frustrated/ The children would have more adult role models with varied lifestyles and philosophies. There would be more safety from family violence because of reduced isolation. Men could be involved in cooperative living but single mother would not feel the traditional pressure to ‘wait on them’ in a communal atmosphere.

Kolba thinks maintaining communication between co-op members is vital to success. This in addition to provincial and federal government funding which she is optimistic they will receive. Society has to start supporting lifestyles like Rawson’s and Maria’s as well as ideas like Kolba’s. Although we do not want to project a Chatelaine magazine image ( as Rawson puts it) of parenting, we single parents enjoy participating in the development of our children although it takes strength and endurance. We have a lot to share in exchange for a reduction in isolation, overwork and poverty.

— END–


Apologetic for Joy

September 18, 2019

My way onto the pages of literary journals –I guess you could say ‘the refined’ journals– such as Prairie Fire, CV2 and The Malahat Review has for the most part been through writing book reviews of  book offerings by Canadian authors.

I have always enjoying reading the books and challenging myself to analyze what I have liked and perhaps not liked about them.

Here is a partial review, from THE MALAHAT REVIEW, that has survived as a scrap of paper in my hand bag during my years of travelling around from housesit to housesit:

JESSICA HIEMSTRA-VAN DER HORST,  Apologetic for Joy (Fredericton. Goose Lane, 2011). Paperbound, 117pp., $17.95

Reading Apologetic for Joy was, for me, like peeling an orange on a hot day and greedily biting into its juicy flesh. Wanting more, I eagerly turned each page to delight in the next surprise.

Hiemstra-van der Horst is not a stranger to pain, nor insensitive toward the pain of others, but she cannot resist returning to a joyful place in her poetry. When the poet turns to writing about grievous experiences, it is understandable how the book got its title. Apologetic for Joy is presented ins even parts, inviting the reader in with freehand drawings by the poet (who is also a visual artist) at the beginning of each section, which frequently leads into a different country where she has visited or lived . Often it is as if the poet delights in random images tossed into her consciousness. In “Anatomy for the Artist (Standing Posture, Study I) she writes “… an orange/rolling across the floor, the way you peeled/that artichoke, me, starting with my mouth.” In “Yes,Love” she toys with putting more order into her poetry: “When you’re asleep, I dream/ a diagram, and and c.” She puts hair and a stray eyelash into the “a” part, her lover’s root in the “b” section, and “how it is to sleep in the curves/ of you” in the “c.” It is appreciated that she does not force her poetry too tightly into structure.

Apologetic for Joy is a pleasure to read because the poetry remains as artfully losse as the drawings. Many of the poems are confessional. “I can’t believe/ I told you I want to own you,” she wrotes om “Anatomy for the Artist (Light, Study III).” In “Georgia’s Recipes Somehow,” she admits to hiding Georgia’s Kitchen (probably in reference to Margaret Wood’s A Painter’s Kitchen : Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keefe) in her cupboard so she can satisfy her guilty pleasure of gazing at pictures of the famous artist’s apron and pantry door.

Much of Heimstra-van der Horst ‘s poetry is spiked with humour and wit. In “We were both wrong, or maybe it’s a spelling mistake,” she writes of her discovery that the place buses stop to pick up passengers in a South African community is called a bus-rank, the joke being “is one bus better than another?” The poet witnesses in his near-death experience from a spider’s bite, she writes “a child can vindicate us. He proves how close to holoness we are/when we are frightened.” This proves how close to holiness we are/ when we are frightened.” This holiness seems to permeate poems lie “Oma rode a bicycle for four years in a room of mattresses,” in which the poet is inspired to declare the “heart is where we store honey and purpose…..”

— END–

Tanya Lester has been doing psychic readings for over two decades now. She specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot, gypsy cards, psychic channelling and mediumship. She is also a reiki master and has been housesitting almost fulltime for the last seven years. To read more about her unsual career choices, go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com  You can text/call to book a reading, a long distance reiki treatment or a housesit at 2505380086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

Tanya’s published books are: Dreams and Tricksters, Friends I Never Knew, Women Rights/Writes and Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader.  You can find her books in some public library systems.




September 21, 2019

This following is a partial story that I wrote about an eco-village on Salt Spring Island. I have heard different rumours about it over the years so do not know whether it still exists or not.

Eco-villages do, however, have a lot that can be very positive about them as a living place for people who have similar goals and dreams about living together in harmony with the environment. For this reason, I will post the partial article for your information:

An eco-village at 2152 Fulford-Ganges Road, next to the little white Burgoyne United Church, led by Jan Steinman, his pockets stuffed with apples for the two resident goats romping after him, makes one thing obvious. The idea of an eco-village on Salt Spring Island has evolved into a reality.

Purchased this year in June and named EcoReality, the two houses on the property are currently inhabited by cooperative member families as well as volunteer farm workers and visitors interested in joining the eco-village.

Just what an eco-village is all about becomes clear to the four of us joining Steinman recently on his weekly Saturday farm tour as he talks about how things work on the property.

He points to a maple tree “giving a gift” when he discovers it has shed a limb. It will be added to many that have already been gathered to be used as firewood.

“We don’t have to kill trees,” he said in reference to the 10-acre woodlot on the land.

“They can be left for the woodpeckers.”

Steinman talks about EcoReality being water rich — “if water is the new oil” — with ponds and running creeks to irrigate the crops and to meet people’s needs. There are future plans to put metal roofs on the property’s buildings in order to collect rainwater as well.

As we move over the land, that is there already seems to constantly inspire Steinman to do more. Already growing on the eco-village site are apples, cherries and pears….

… ground is being broken in preparation for growing garlic. Chickens cackle around their small coop behind a fenced-in vegetable garden.

There is one building, complete with gleaming blonde wood floor inside, already being used for yoga instruction by member Shannon Cowan.

The classroom has also become the spot for chi gong classes, Steinman plans to teach photography there and the group will keep bringing in speakers too.

One of the buildings in the farmyard is set up to continue with the biodiesel processing that Jan and Carol Steinman began on their Sharp Road property, which they now describe as their “starter eco-village”. It was bought by the two of them with Shannon and James Cowan.

The Cowans, then living in Vancouver, and the Steinmans, who were based in Portland, Oregan, met in 2005 at an eco-village workshop in Shawnigan Lake. It was facilitated by Diana Leafe Christian, who wrote the book called Creating a Life Together, which is the blue print for eco-village development said James Cowan.

On this island, they became involved in Saltspring Ecovillage Education and Development Society (SEEDS). When SEEDS was discontinued, the four went on to make their vision a reality.

James Cowan has adapted his work as a music concert and festival producer… with a work party on Friday. There are also members’ meetings in which offsite members, including a couple in Washington state and another in Vancouver participate. Decisions are made by consensus and all members have taken workshops on this topic.

Both houses on the property can house more than one family and Steinman said current members are willing to share housing space.

Within 12 months, when subdivision of the property occurs, the eco-village can then have three houses and a cottage on the property.

The goal is to work with different government levels in order to eventually have clustered, shared-wall houses.

In order to become a member of EcoReality, a family pays $100,000 plus $50,000 for the cost of building a house.

The present members are flexible as to how newcomers are able to become members, but the vision is that everyone will eventually invest the same amount of money into the ec0-village….

Next door to EcoReality’s 37 acres is 63 acres designated for community farmland, and both were part of the former Hughes farm sold by Three Point Properties.

— END —

Tanya has now been doing psychic counselling for 21 years. She began doing tea leaf reading and then added tarot, psychic channelling, mediumship and gypsy card reading. She loves all of them. She is also a reiki master with 25 years experience and housesits almost fulltime for the last 7 years. Her web is at teareading.wordpress.com To book a reading, get a long distance reiki treatment or arrange for a housesit, text/call 2505380086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com


Fundraising and frustration highlight town hall meeting

June 18, 2019

It is well known by anyone who lives or has lived on Salt Spring Island, BC (and probably by much of the larger world population as well — laugh out loud) that the island is filled with people of various and sundry opinions and some can speak quite loudly and emotionally about those various and sundry opinions.

There is really nowhere quite like Salt Spring Island. I meet travelers often and frequently suggest that they visit there. If they do, they are guaranteed a unique experience.

The following is an example of differences of opinions colliding at a town hall meeting concerning fund raising to curtain the clear cutting that Texada Land Corporation was doing on the island in 2000:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Fundraising and frustration highlight town hall meeting

by Tanya Lester

New initiatives and frustration concerning saving Texada Land Corporation property from clear-cutting were threads that persistently ran through the town hall meeting at Gulf Islands Secondary School with 150 in attendance last Thursday night.

“Have we really been standing up there and saying we believe private property is less important than our water supply?” asked Briony Penn of The Land Conservancy of B.C., alluding to concern over drinking water from Maxwell Lake where Texada begins logging that area.

Penn talked about the frustration she and many are now feeling after seven months work lobbying governments to get environmental protection for the Texada lands.

She talked of being shuffled from the federal government to the provincial government and finding no political will on either level to enforce or legislate environmental protection.

“We are the government,” Penn said.

She added that given this climate, The Land Conservancy saw no other solution than to try and save the land by raising money to purchase it.

Penn spoke candidly after protester David Shebib interrupted the meeting’s proceedings with accusations that included singling out various people for “selling out”.

Despite the interruptions, other speakers outlined new lobbying strategies and initiatives to continue work to protect the environmental amenities of Texada’s lands.

Meror Krayenhoff unveiled a green financing scheme in which people can buy and transfer RRSPs for shares in a corporation. The money would then be used to purchase Texada land.

Murray Reiss said he believes Manulife is starting to feel pressure to divest or more actively influence Texada’s principals.

Continuing on the “Manulife or Manudeath” campaign, Reiss announced a rally at the Manulife-hosted conference of major players in the insurance world called The International Insurance Society Seminar.

The rally will be held in Vancouver…

The Raging Grannies will perform, as well as Susheela, Arvid Chalmers and Shilo Zylbergold in their Manulife street theatre piece.

Dominique D’Alessandro, Manulife chief executive officer, will be at the event.

He will be invited to visit Salt Spring Island and to tour Texada’s  logging operations.

Elizabeth White announced that Capital Regional District (CRD) and land conservancy appraisals of Texada property are now in the principals’ hands. She said negotiations are in camera but both the CRD and the land conservancy are asking the company “to agree to a reasonable price.”

Wally du Temple of the Green Party talked about the Green Conscience Fund his party has set up to cover legal expenses incurred by those involved in the protest. Charitable tax receipts can be issued to donors.

Du Temple also announced the opening of a Green Party office for accepting donations in the former Just Imagine building in Ganges.

There was also an announcement made inviting protesters to participate in a photo shoot for the cover of a calendar being produced by the Save Salt Spring Campaign Fund.

Those interested in participating should attend “Stark not naked” on … Stark Road.

The group photograph will be on the calendar’s cover. Each calendar month with feature one of 12 naked Salt Spring women involved in the protest against Texada with proceeds going to this cause.

For more information , contact Ruth Tarasoff.

The meeting concluded with several participants  in the Spirit Camp or those who have recently left the camp, talking about the need for community support in a variety of ways.

Many are visiting Salt Spring from different parts of Canada.

— END–

Tanya Lester’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes.

To read more posts of writings of various genres and themes in this blog, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya Lester has done tea leaf readings, tarot and other kinds of psychic readings for over 20 years now. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. To read more about her unique career, go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com  To arrange for a reading or a long distance reiki treatment, text/call 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com




Music resonates strength, gentleness

June 17, 2019

Here is another of many musician profiles I did while living on Salt Spring Island, BC:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Music resonates strength, gentleness

     Suddenly around us there were people in all directions/Young and old/Laughing, crying/Different occupations/The grandeur of this scene/It took my mind and sent it spinning/I looked back at the old man/He just stood there grinning/ He said, “Can you see the key?”/ No two are the same/ Yet look at you and me/ Our vision is the same

— Daryl Chonka from “On the Rise”

by Tanya Lester

Accompany the above lyrics from the title song in Daryl Chonka’s first CD with mandolin and you’ll get a good vision of where this folk musician and recording artist is at and where he intends to go.

Chonka’s voice is a bit rough, but so are Leonard Cohen’s and Neil Young’s.

His voice and excellent narrative potential as a songwriter echoes a more laid  back version of Young’s strong creative forcefulness.

On the Rise tells the story of a “young one” walking down the road when he meets an old man who coaxes him to stop and look at he sunrise. The young man sees the world and its people as if for the first time. Perhaps he sees his life’s end, too.

“The reason I have pursued music is because it is the magic I have to share,” said Chonka in an interview at his south-end cabin and studio. “The music is my way of making a strong statement gently.”

Gently, yes, and the music and lyrics stay with you even after the first listen. Tunes with lines like “stay with me one more day” and “I am awake I am” have a smooth hypnotic and haunting style which could easily give this soon-to-be-released CD radio air time.

Yet Chonka’s unrefined voice fits what he calls an organic style, which he much prefers to the “generic and overproduced” mainstream variety.

In fact, his first CD  only a minute aspect of Chonka’s creative expression. Since he moved to Salt Spring Island last spring, he has done recording work for a variety of island artists.

“Because I am a very visual person, producing music is very much like landscape painting,” he said. “Production is about perspective, symmetry and balances. The tones are the colours.”

Something still under wraps is a totally unique technological multi-media visual show. He has coined a new name for it: PSI or “perspectral illuminations.”

While based on a variety of West Coast islands, Chonka has toured extensively across Canada for the last decade as a drummer or guitarist. His versatility has ranged from performing Stompin’ Tom Connors, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd, traditional bluegrass and the folk ballad.

Slow is a beautiful ballad example on this CD: “Time goes by/like you and I/move so slow.”

Chonka’s vensues have included festivals, pubs, street fairs, livestock auctions, grand openings, bowling alley birthday parties and martini mingles.

“I think the only thing I haven’t done is a pet show,” he joked.

Originally from Brantford, Ontario, Chonka includes Victoria, Bamfield, tiny Burlo Island (where he was the sole inhabitant for a year), and Gabriola Island among his communities. He moved to Salt Spring because every time he visited, Chonka felt like he recognized everyone here.

Since so many people on the islands are coming from or going to “somewhere else,” and because of the Internet’s global connections, Chonka is more and more influenced by other cultures.

” I have a really strong curiosity about earth culture and I am always seeking guidance from other cultures,” said Chonka. “In those cultures, I find teachings that have opened my heart and my mind and the lyrics in my music reflect that.”

Chonka’s e-mail address is chonkology@hotmail.com


To read more posts on this eclectic blogs of writings by and about Tanya Lester, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya has worked for over 2 decades now as a psychic counsellor with a focus on tea leaf reading and tarot as well as psychic channelling, mediumship and gypsy card reading. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter.  To learn more about her unsual careers, go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com    To arrange a reading, a reiki session or a housesit, text/call 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes.



Yet another Equal Times column- published on November 30, 1982

June 15, 2019

In this column, I am waxing on about a Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, local election, as well as developing more community events :

Gravelbourg Gazette

November 30, 1982

Equal Times

by Tanya Lester

Many of the councillors who won seats in the recent Gravelbourg town elections promised to try to attract new businesses into town as part of their campaign platforms. Some said bringing new businesses into Gravelbourg would ‘help keep our young people at home’ rather than going elsewhere for employment.

Of course, this is true. But in order to encourage new business people to move into the town with their families as well as encouraging young people to stay here to work for these businesses and establish ones of their own, the town needs more cultural and educational activities.

With the school and new recreation complex facilities already available, this would not be too difficult to do. For starters,  the town council could increase its funding of the regional library, located at Gravelbourg School, so it could make more books available to the public and better publicize the services which it offers.

Certainly, with the opening of the new complex, which has just been named the Palestre, sporting events are going to be on the increase in Gravelbourg. The complex could also be the scene of musical and theatrical events. Some of these entertainments areas are probably already being looked at by council and the recreational board.

But if an arts council was established, there is no reason why entertainers on a local, provincial, and national level could not take advantage of the facilities. We have some fine local talent. Colette Brisebois, a singer who attends College Mathieu, has already proved this by twice representing the province at the national Granby French Music Festival. She and others deserve more exposure in their hometown.

College Mathieu, from all accounts that I have heard, also has an excellent reputation for theatre. The Gravelbourg School could establish a drama club, too. There is no reason why a community theatre could not also be set-up perhaps in conjunction with the school club.

Last week, I met with Donna Costley and some other Bateman writers to talk about forming a writer’s club or support group for those of us interested in writing fiction. Who knows? Maybe a group such as this could eventually write plays and a town history that could be used on a local level.

And, of course, if Coronach can arrange to bring in a nationally famous group like Ryan’s Fancy, why can’t we? Saskatchewan, itself, has many excellent performers, too. The theatre company, Paper Wheat, and others have proved this.

Right about at this point, you’re probably asking, “Well, who has the time to organize all this?” I know. To bring some of these plans into reality means a lot of volunteer work. But, volunteer work does have its rewards as any of you who do it already know.

Some of these schemes could be expensive, too. But anyone with experience in budgeting knows all the tricks of keeping costs down. There are always ways to cut costs. In many communities, street festivals in the summertime, including actors and other performers who put on shows right in the streets, is one way to cut costs and have a lot of fun also.

I would certainly be willing to give some of my time to such projects…


Tanya spends most of her work time nowadays doing psychic counselling. She specializes in tea leaf reading and tarot but also does some psychic channelling, mediumship and gypsy card readings. Besides this, she is a reiki master and a full time housesitter.  To book an appointment for a reading either long distance or in person, text or call 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes.  The first two titles can be purchased from the author or from amazon.ca  The last two titles are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba. All of these titles can be found in some library systems, especially in Canada.

To read more posts in this blog, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com or tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Equal Times — first published November 23, 1982

June 14, 2019

For someone who always thought writing a column, and keeping it interesting, is one of the most difficult things to do, I am now surprised at how many I wrote:

Gravelbourg Gazette

November 23, 1982

Equal Times

by Tanya Lester

Next to writing, digging around for history is one of my favourite pastimes. Actually, it was because I enjoyed researching and writing history papers in high school and university that I found out I was interested in journalism.

Last fall I did some volunteer work for a Senior Citizens History Program at the Manitoba Archives. Each volunteer had to go and interview a senior citizen using a tape recorder. The program was set up because the Manitoba Archives feared, that in our electronic age, people were dying without leaving any record of their pasts and Canada’s past, too.

With the widespread use of the telephone , for example, people are no longer writing so many letters. Many of the records kept in Archives are actually letters a premier or attorney-general, for example, had written in years gone by. The Archives thought they had better start tape recording older Winnipeg residents’ stories or there might be no historical records left in the future.

I decided to work on the Program for selfish reasons. I had never done any interviewing with a tape recorder and thought knowledge of this type of interview would help me further my journalism career.

It became more interesting, though, when I was assigned to interview W.L. Morton’s widow. “So what?,” you ask. That’s what several of my friends said, too, when I told them who I was going to interview. Not having majored in history, they did not know that W.L. Morton was a world famous Canadian historian who authored several books, some of which I had used while working on history papers and for at least one article.

So off I went to interview the famous historian’s widow. Of course, I was going to get the ‘inside scoop’ on what it was like for her to be married to someone important.

I should have known better. I certainly did by the time I left Mrs. Morton’s apartment. Because during the interview, I quickly lost interest in asking her questions about her husband.

I lost interest in him and became very interested in the stories Mrs. Morton had to tell about her own life. She had played on the University of Manitoba Ladies’ Hockey Team in the 1930’s. She had graduated with a Master’s Degree in Math but couldn’t get a job with Great West Life, the huge insurance corporation, because she was a woman. “You’ll only get married, pregnant, and quit,” they told her bluntly.

It was 4o some years later before that insurance company hired a woman actuary for the first time. Morton had also sat on the Royal Winnipeg Ballet board and had some very funny stories to tell  about happenings in the ballet. She had done many things that married women, even nowadays, would have difficulty attempting without running into society’s roadblocks. And in between all this talk, she sandwiched in stories about how and where children in her day had enjoyed winter sports in Winnipeg.

The point I am making is that, Mrs. Morton had never enjoyed the “limelight” like her husband had but she had much to contribute to the history of Winnipeg. Historians call this “social history” .  It is not the history that prime ministers, and other famous people who are usually out of touch with the day-to-day happening in a country, make.

It is the history of the “common” person , if you like, but few people have led “common” lives if you really sit down and think about it.

In the last couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure to interview three senior citizens in the area. I talked with Tom Davidson of Gravelbourg who has setdown his history in story form for the benefit of his family. I talked with Bernie Smith of Mossbank who has written a brief autobiography on his own past and how he started his famous bird carving hobby. Then, I talked with Gus Csada of Gravelbourg who has kept his family photograph album which is a pictorial history of his family’s past.

I tip my “hat” to these men for keeping those valuable records. We should all be keeping records of what is happening to us now and should be encouraging others, both old and young, to do the same. If we preserve the past, it often helps us to understand how we can go about doing things today, and what we should be doing in the future. Besides, it’s interesting when it’s not about remembering  the date when some king died or when some prime minister passed some law.

Gravelbourg still needs to have a town history book written. It still needs a book which would pull together all the bits of history surrounding the Cathedral, the homesteading farmers, the depression, the snow storms and the floods. Until someone decides to do this, keep your own records. You might make your children, your grandchildren, and some book writer(s) very happy someday. Right now, you may have something that would be of value to the town library, to the school or to this reporter. It never harms  to keep a copy.

— END–

To read more articles and other types of writing in this eclectic blog on various themes and styles, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com or tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes.

Tanya has been a psychic counselor for over 2 decades now. She specializes in tea leaf reading and tarot as well as psychic channeling, mediumship and gypsy card reading. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. For more on Tanya’s unique careers and lifestyles, go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com  To book a reading or to arrange a housesit,  text/call 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com


Show features confessions from recesses of Stewart Katz’s mind

June 13, 2019

Writing for a small newspaper can be an exercise in trying to please everyone including the people you write about.

I saw it in the managing editor of the paper, at the time. She would write a piece in which every word seemed to be an exclamation mark in which she raved about how amazing a play or a concert or an art show was.

Nothing was wrong with it. Everything was oh, so right.

Then, I wrote a piece in which I myself did that.

It was then I knew it was time to take a bit of a break from freelance writing.

I took a deep breath and never wrote another dishonest piece.

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Show features confessions from recesses of Stewart Katz’s mind

by Tanya Lester

In another time dimension before I lived on Salt Spring, I took a theatre intensive with Nancy Drake, a well-respected Winnipeg-based stage actress.

“Who do you play when you are actin?” she asked.


“You play yourself,” she said, answering  her own question.

Now even if I was not acquainted with Stewart Katz, I would say he is too talented  (in Graffiti Theatre’s Seven Stories on the ArtSpring stage, for example,  he was superb) to not have drawn on at least a side of his own personality while performing  at Barb’s Bakery and Bistro last Saturday.

In Confessions of a New Age Neurotic, Katz, in curly  wig and horn-rimmed glasses , began his one-man show coming across as quite the odd-ball , but an odd-ball that many of us in the audience probably recognized  in ourselves and/or in those around us.

He talked about being filled with “light” and how all of us “even Americans can eat three meals a day at KFC, are light.”

He quipped about buying all the New Age books , but opted to display them instead of reading them.

They were for holding in his hands , he said, to absorb their energy……

From there the intelligent humour  unfolded with a peppering of  the salty stand-up ‘s domain.

Somewhere during the hour-long monologue, which was delivered in a  well-attended restaurant setting (Katz is clearly developing a following), I realized what he was doing was revealing  what must make stand-up comedy one of the most difficult art forms.

Building to an ever more angry rant as the evening continued, Katz  itemized everythin his character did to be “healed”.

He had his “aura cleaned and pressed.” A New Age nutritionist told him to “get off sugar” so he got himself  “a cake patch”, which helped him absorb “tiny doses of cake” throughout the day.

“I am what I eat, you are what you excrete,” Katz waxed poetically and bawdily, referring to a “deja poo”.

By mid-act, he had spun off in a Neil Young-style rendition of a Mad Cow ballad:

“I am a cow

I don’t know how

Those human beings

Thought to serve me sow”

Then, appealing to the local crowd, Katz poked fun at the last restaurant that occupied the Barb’s space. Called “The Glass Onion,” he said other likely names could be “Ceramic Garlic” or “Porcelain Leek.”

Later, he took a jab at the psychotherapist’s 50-minute hour. He said he told her than he would have to pay her with the “80-cent dollar.”

Speaking of therapists, there is a common acknowledgement among those in this field that anger is beneficial if it moves us into taking positive action.

Like maybe writing and performin a one-man show propelled by an angst-driven character.

Next time you stroll into Island Savings, look for the mild-mannered teller in the tie and dress shirt. He just could be related to a “New Age Neurotic.”

Better yet: make sue to check out Katz’s next show whenever and wherever that may be.

— END–

Tanya Lester is long time psychic counselor who specializes in tea leaf reading and tarot. Other tricks up her intuitive sleeves are psychic channeling, mediumship and gypsy card reading. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. To find out more about her unique career, go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com  To book a reading or arrange a housesit, contact her at 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as  Women Rights/Writes.   The first two titles are available for purchase from the author or from amazon.ca   The last two titles are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba. All of these titles are in some public libraries especially in Canada.

To read more posts in this blog of electic writing genres on a wide range of topics, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com or tealeaf56.wordpress.com














Girls say pornography is violence

June 7, 2019

If girls and young women are able to publicly express themselves about how they feel about situations they are witnessing and sometimes experiencing themselves then they grow up more confident and enjoy a happier life.

Who said the above?

I did right now. I was thinking back about what made life good for me when I was a young woman.

Now I am an old woman, having lived decades, and I still feel that my voice is strong. I still feel confident and powerful.

It feels wonderful.

The following is a piece about young women’s opinions:


August ?

Girls say pornography is violence

by Tanya Lester


We are a group of 9 to 12-year-old girls called GAP group (GAP is short for Girls are People). We do not accept pornography. We hate it. We think it exploits women.

Some boys in our class act big and show off and say that they want Pay TV so they can watch Playboy. They think that women’s bodies are just for entertainment.

If men are so great and if they don’t believe in violence, why do they only consider war and murdering to be violence? They don’t realize that pornography is violent towards women and girls. It gives children a bad impression and makes children think the world is very violent.

Women should be able to say what they want done with their bodies on TV. We know lots of girls whose brothers and fathers read pornography. It makes us feel uncomfortable. We are afraid that some day we will be afraid to walk on the streets at night. It’s not a weakness. If men were in our place they would feel the same way. Some men should have more consideration for women’s bodies.

The easy way to stop pornography is for everyone to stop buying it. Every time you buy a magazine or Pay TV, you are contributing to more profits for the people who use women’s bodies.

To be treated like a woman should be the same as being treated as a person.

Jennifer Nicholson

Michelle and Kim Sexey

Claire Bowering

Jennifer Peters

Jennifer Springer

Meadow Springer

Rain Springer


GAP members charge that sports activities in schools are sexist too. The girls are only expected to do the easier exercises, they say. If a boy doesn’t excell in the more difficult exercises, a teacher will tell him he is “going to be a girl.” In fact, GAP girls say, teachers regularly putdown boys by telling them that they are being like girls.

Often, they say, girls and boys sports are segregated. A teacher is likely to frustrate a girl athlete by helping her to score a basket, for example, when she feels confident that she could have done it herself.

Girls are discouraged from playing sports, like soccer, which have traditionally been accepted as masculine games, GAP girls say. And if an all-girls team beats an all-boys team, the girls are told the boys were giving them a “chance”.

The FYST members also recognize sports as being a big sex-stereotyping factor in the schools. They realize the boys teams in high schools get more publicity than the girls’ teams.

But FYST members seem more concerned about the lack of positive attitudes towards human sexuality among their peer groups. Lisa Smith was so concerned that she searched through the telephone book until she found the MACSW phone number. She had felt very much in need of a feminist support group.

“My world really revolved around guys and I was really hurt by what they said about me,” Lisa said. Because she has a well-developed body, young men resorted to sexual name calling, she recalls. Even people close to her made her feel guilty about her body image. They told her to wear her hair differently and to dress in a more acceptable fashion. The message was to conform.

The FYST group would most life to discuss reproductive choice in the future. Dating was on the bottom of their list of interesting topics.

This might mean that the young women already have decided what kind of people they want to date. Certainly, GAP members seem to know. “It’s not like we’re anti-men,” Jennifer Springer and others said. “But we won’t go out with sexist men.”

They have been encouraged not to feel ashamed of their female bodies. When the first GAP member started menstruating, the group, which also includes Claire Bowering, Kim and Michelle Sexey, Jennifer Peters, Jennifer Nicolson and Meadown Springer, celebrated the event by having a party.

Bothy GAP and FYST members have many ideas about how sexism in education can be eliminated. Direct confrontation of those who are sexist within education is one method they use. GAP members were not satisfied with a social studies teacher’s excuse that there wasn’t enough time to learn about the suffragists. Claire has been pressuring her French teacher to find out what the French work for “Ms.” is.

FYST member Rosemary McEvoy sees a need for not only more women but also sutdents on school boards. The group wants feminist speakers to be brought to the schools and women’s studies courses to be implemented. They want teachers to realize that non-sexism is a provincial education policy. They see the need for the same type of education for families.

Rosemary thinks feminists in the schools could express their beliefs through student newspapers. Lisa would like to go on into politics and is interested in organizing a feminist party to make society realize that women must have equality. She refuses to be believe the teacher who told her to “start thinking like a man” in order to become good at mechanics.

In the meantime, the FYST members are venting their frustrations by attending women’s rights demonstrations, writing a play on sex-stereotyping, and discussing feminist issues including taking assertiveness training. The GAP group has also been active writing a letter to the Brandon Sun against pornography, going to see a Heather Bishop and Karen Howe concert, and they want to take Wendo, a women’s self-defense course.

“I thought it was important that young girls learn about feminism before they get old like me,” laughs Bev when asked why she started the GAP group. Members of GAP and FYST agree that the young women’s groups are satisfying a need rarely met in the formal education system.


To read more posts in this blog of eclcetic writings in several different genres and on various topics, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams & Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes. These books can be found in some public library systems especially in Canada. The first two on this list can be purchased from the author or going to amazon.ca  The last two are available in the Legislaive Library of Manitoba.

Tanya has worked for over two decades as a psychic counselor who specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot as well as psychic channelling, mediumship and gypsy card reading. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. To find out about more about her unsual career choices, go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com  To book a reader or recieve a long distance reiki treatment, text/call 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

This is blog of the many articles published by and about me over several decades as a freelance writer and a tealeafreader/tarot reader/psychic.