Tea leaf reader recruited to predict NBA star’s move

July 25, 2014

In Twitter’s pioneer days, I have to admit being flattered and excited when Prince was briefly following me on Twitter. (Nowadays, of course, it is different and Twitter serves a sort of egalitarian cocktail party with the everyday people mingling easily with the rich and famous).

So why was Prince following me in the dawn of Twitter days? It was because I had been asked by a reporter from AOL, New York based online publication, to predict who LeBron James, NBA superstar, was going to sign with.

This summer LeBron James’ signing with an American basketball team has been in the news once again. He did an about-turn by leaving Miami and going back to Cleveland. In 2010, the American sports world was in a frenzy about where James was going to go after he became a free agent and was able to leave Cleveland.

That is when Ferdinando Di Fino decided to write a story with an unusual angle. When he Googled “tea leaf reader”, I will give you three guesses as to whose name came up.

Just for the record, none of the psychics Di Fino interviewed got it right as to what team James settled on.

Here is a resulting spinoff story of the story Di Fino wrote:

Gulf Islands Driftwood
June 16, 2010
Tea leaf reader recruited to predict NBA star’s move
by Elizabeth Nolan

Lebron Jamea may be to basketball fans what Wayne Gretsky once was to hockey, but a local tea leaf reader had never heard his name before she was asked to predict his future.

A self-described psychic who channels spirit guides to make her readings, Tanya Lester often does her work for long-distance clients.

Getting the commission to predict a sports star’s next move was a first.

“I have received other requests for readings, but certainly not from a journalist who lives in New York City,” Lester told the Driftwood.

Sportswriter Ferdinando Di Fino contacted Lester for the reading as part of a story he’s working on for AOL.

He told her the entire sports world is trying to guess where James will go after his contract in Cleveland ends this year — and he decided non-sports experts had as much chance as anyone to predict the end result.

Di Fino said his article will included information from an astologer and experts in body language and handwriting.

Though he’d never heard of Salt Spring — Lester later described its location to him as being in “Steve Nash country” — he found the local contact through a website listing for her new book.

When she performed the reading a couple of weeks ago, Lester purposely kept her knowledge about James to a minimum, keeping her “slate” free of rational thoughts or preconceived opinions.

“Usually I feel my intuition has to be clear,” she explained.

Lester didn’t have a list of potential teams James would likely consider or know who had the money to afford him.

She did look at his photo on AOL and concentrated on his image while drinking the tea to predict his future choice.

One of the first things Lester saw in the cup was that James has “the power of the bull.” She also saw he needs elbow room both on and off the court.

“What he’s looking for besides money is a home,” Lester said.

“He’s not a complicated person, he just loves to play basketball, that’s his main thing. But right now he’s very confused because up until now there’s been other people making his decisions for him.”

Lester read in the leaves that James wants to stay in Cleveland but the money’s not there.

He will choose Chicago because he finds New York too clautrophobic, and some of the money bringing him there will come from Oprah Winfrey.

After sending Di Fino her results, along with photos of the cup taken by Jennifer Holmes, Lester learned that Chicago is one of four teams that James will probably choose between. And, it was only then she found out that Chicago’s team is called the Bulls.

Lester will see what the other experts have come up with when Di Fino’s story is published during the upcoming NBA finals.

As for James, he has until the end of August to make his decision and Lester, like millions of others, will be watching to see where he goes.

“This is why I like being a tea-leaf reader, because every day someone calls and wants a reading– and everyone’s life is interesting.”

Lester’s new book called Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader can be ordered online…
Confessions of a Tea Leaf Readerby Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author name at amazon.com where you can also read the first pages of the book.

To read the first posts in this blog, go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com
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Big donations, little donations accepted for land acquisition

July 23, 2014

I have to admit, I never heard of the idea of communities raising money to buy land from corporations who clear cut trees (or do anything, for that matter) so that the corporation will sell the land to the community.

The cynic in me (or maybe the realist) says that this means it is a sellers’ market for the corporation and the owners will make much more money than they would selling trees.

Still, just take a walk on one of the Burgoyne Bay trails in the park located in the southwest corner of Salt Spring Island and you will agree with me that any amount of money was worth raising in order to keep the beauty in the trees, mountains and ocean on natural display there.

And even sitting through all the agonizing meetings was worth it (I think). Here is an account of one of them:

Gulf Islands Driftwood
February 9, 2000
Big donations, little donations accepted for land acquisition
by Tanya Lester

Islanders advocating land acquisition and opposed to clear-cutting may well be dancing — around the May pole or elsewhere — on May 1 if they manage to raise the $500,000 needed to seriously begin land purchase negotiations with Texada.

The May Day Campaign was announced last Thursday evening at Gulf Islands Secondary School during one of the ongoing public meetings on the issue. It was sandwiched between questions and comments at the public miscrophone where line-ups were continual throughout the evening — from among the over 200 concerned islanders who attended.

One of these was Adrian du Plessis, who outlined information he had obtained about the backgrounds of some of the key players in Texada — (see separate story).

“It’s not just big donations but little donations of $5 and $10, too, (that we’re interested in),” said Elizabeth White, when she made the announcement.

To date, $140,000 has been donated and pledged by over 100 groups and individuals, said White, who is the Salt Spring Appeal volunteer fundraiser.

White later told the Driftwood that $500,000 is the amount The Land Consevancy of B.C. (TLCBC) executive director Bill Turner believes is needed to be considered as a serious land purchase contender by Texada owners.

The appraised value of the Texada land is $30 million with a price tag of another $30 million put on the property’s standing timber by the logging corporation, said Turner, who also spoke at the meeting.

White said a detailed prospectus with information concerning values of land parcels within the Texada property is near completion. These parcels can be considered by individuals and groups who would comply with land covenants specified by TLCBC when making a pledge for purchase.

Anyone interested in making a pledge can identify a specifici land parcel (i.e. Maxwell Lake watershed) which the group or individual would like to purchase or contribute money towards, said White.

She said a pledge form is signed by the contributor but no money is required up front. When money is needed, it will be requested with 21 days notice.

The Community Forest Group (CFG) and those interested in establishing farm trusts are two groups considering purchase of Texada land parcels.

CFG spokesman Andrew Lewis told the audience his group formed because of an interest in the spiritual, physical and economic health of the forest and the Salt Spring community.

“Community forest is a working forest managed by islanders to work for the island,” Lewis said. It is forestry wihc is ecologically sustainable.

Lewis said the project would provide educational facets, research opportunities, direct and indirect employment, and tourism opportunities.

Community forests are also being developed on Cortez and Denman islands as well as many communities in the B.C. Interior.

Lewis said most are operating on Crown land with the one on Denman being privately owned…

Kate McEwen from Island Natural Growers spoke about the farm trust concept and indicated that parts of Texada land are suitable for agriculture.

She said a farm trust would be a non-profit organization that could give farmers access to land that they could not otherwise afford. The trust could be the setting for demonstration and teaching farms.

“You end up with a working landscape,” McEwen said.

To make a farm trust feasible, it would need interest from organic farmers and public money, she said.

Those opposed to the clear-cutting will also be establishing an information and fundraising office in a rental space above Barb’s Buns in Ganges scheduled to open during the last week of February.

Upcoming fundraising events include a Natural Health Fair at Fulford Hall on February 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. At least 40 percent of the proceeds will go to land acquisition efforts.

On February 18, musicians Valdy, Bill Henderson, Alan Moberg, Susan Cogan and Tom Hooper will be performing in a fundraiser at ArtSpring.

“Woodstop”, an all-day/all-night community music festival featuring bands, performance art, poetry and clowns, will run on February 26 at Beaver Point Hall…

Also, Barry Livingston is organizing a fundraising Sacred Arts Festival of music, dance and poetry reading in March…
To read earlier posts on this blog go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com
Confessions of a Tea Leaf Readerby Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or the first pages can be read by going to the title and author name at amazon.com

Jordan’s artistic direction inspired by social issues

July 22, 2014
It was a wonderful surprise to discover Sheila Jordan on Pender Island. She is an actress and there is something special about watching a really talented thespian walk across the theatre boards. (Personally, I believe a real good actor stands out whether she or he is doing live theatre or movie screen work. Even being on the small screen does not diminish the shine of a really good actor. I give you Robin Williams on “Mork and Mindy” or all of the incredible cast on “3rd Rock from the Sun”. On television, I think, really good are much more likely to shine in comedy, interestingly enough, than they do on dramas.)

I admit I was surprised to discover Sheila on Pender Island. Why, I am not sure. Maybe because the Pender islands (there are actually two joined by a bridge) has a small population, maybe 3000. I expect talented people to be more likely found in a larger population base.

Nowadays, Sheila lives on the larger metropolis of Salt Spring Island (10,000 to 12,000 population depending the time of year). She quite often stages one woman shows at ArtSpring and keeps bees as well as a tea room on her property.

But back in 2000, I decided to do a profile on her. I always enjoy doing a profile on talented people (and in one way or another we are all talented). The following piece is about Sheila Jordan:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Pender Edition
June 7, 2000
Jordan’s artistic direction inspired by social issues
by Tanya Lester

Sheila Jordan makes a difference no matter how she expresses herself artistically.

Recently in the spotlight for her role as Constance Ledbelly in Solstice Theatre’s production of Goodnight Desdemona (Goodmorning Juliet), Jordan was often greeted at the end of a performance night by older women. They wanted to thank the actress — at least one woman had tears streaming down her face — for her portrayal of someone who was able to get out from under the male bullying inflicted upon her for many years.

Five years ago, Jordan’s arrival in B.C. from Ottawa made another huge impact. That’s when she premiered her documentary film called No Surrender. It was about a group of Cheslatta First Nations people who were relocated by Alcan and the federal government in the 1950s so a hydro-electric project could be built. No Surrender attracted 1,100 people to Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre on opening night.

Just last year Jordan took a seat at the Women in the Director’s Chair program offered at Banff’s School of the Arts. Occupying another of the “chairs” was renowned dancer Veronica Tennant.

Respected Winnipeg-based film director Norma Bailey was the program’s facilitator and she is interested in directing the feature film Jordan is writing.

In its third draft and called Honey in the Rock (not to be confused with the blues and gospel band called Honey on the Rocks), the plan is for Jordan to “shadow direct” with Bailey.

The film script is a romantic comedy about two women who fall in love while one woman’s husband is away fighting in World War II. The affair end when the husband returns home.

Freddie, the former lover, who is a painter and belly dance teacher, shows up on the couple’s doorstep 50 years later where they live in a small New Brunswick town.

Jordan likes the idea that eight of the 11 cast emmbers will be women over 65 because she believes that age range has always been invisible in film.

She also likes the scripts’s look at being lesbian just as she enjoyed Goodnight Desdemona’s treatment of homosexuality.

“We feel we have to be slotted,” said Jordan. “It’s okay to express and explore. I love people who follow their hearts.”

Just as Freddie “crashes” into her former lover’s life, Jordan intends to do some “crashing” of her own soon.

The focus for Jordan will be auditioning for professional theatre parts in Vancouver. She said although they are called “open auditions”, the directors hosting them have a tendency to brush off anyone who does not have a resume that they deem impressive.

Community theatre does not usually fit their bill, said Jordan, but she is going to get lessons in crashing auditions soon. Her coach will be Andrew McIlroy, who adjudicated at the B.C. Festival of Amateur Theatre in Lake Cowichan last month.

When McIlroy gave Jordan the award for best actress, he said, “I would hire her in a minute.”

Coincidentally, Jordan literally ran in McIlroy a couple of weekends ago when she was taking an acting workshop in Vancouver.

She “cornered him” and asked him if he really meant what he had said. His response being in the affirmative, he then agreed to be her audition coach.

Her ambition to go professional will not deter her from doing community theatre, she said. Having participated in five Solstice Theatre plays, Jordan is fascinated with how acting can help people develop.

“I love watching the transformation of an actor,” she said.

Jordan does want to see more professional theatre people come to the Penders to do workshops with those in community theatre, including courses on directing. “That’s a way to pay back the actors,” she said.

Jordan’s many talents extend to television series as well with involvement in Aboriginal Voices, Evergreen, Under the Umbrella Tree and recent writing for In the Company of Women. She has also produced and directed documentary films.

Getting into CBC Radio and even starting a Gulf Islands radio station are other career directions Jordan would like to take.

She lives on the Penders with her two daughters. Allie is seven years old and Rowyn is three, and both are especially supportive of their mother’s acting endeavours.

When Allie was asked recently what her mother does, she responded. “She’s an actor.”

When Goodnight Desdemona was in performance, Rowyn sat mesmerized through two entire shows.

Jordan said the Penders community is, like her children, completely supportive of her acting work. Yet given Jordan’s passion for the stage and film, it is safe to say that “they ain’t seen nothing yet.”




To read earlier posts in this blog, go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com

Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author. You can read the first few pages of the book on amazon.com

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Wharf divestment procedure stalls Hope Bay Village project

July 21, 2014
When I moved to Salt Spring Island in 1998, I suddenly realized that when I had a problem even vaguely government related in Winnipeg, I always knew who to call to get the answer or to get help to solve the problem.

On Salt Spring Island, I found there was often nowhere to go for information. Many people might have a theory as to how to solve a problem but no one knew how to solve the problem.

Same goes for any of the Gulf Islands, which dot the east coast of Vancouver Island in Canada (for those of you who are not aware of the geography). Government bureaucracy and political nepotism can make establishing a business, or doing almost anything else, a nightmare.

The following Hope Bay Village project, to rent space to businesses on the wharf, is a past example:

Gulf Islands Driftwood – Penders Edition
June 7, 2000
Wharf divestment procedure stalls Hope Bay Village project
by Tanya Lester

Federal government divestment of the wharf at Hope Bay has indirectly delayed construction of Hope Bay Village.

According to woner Case Van Der Valk, a prospective lender does not want to finance the project until he is satisfied that a leasing arrangement between Van Der Valk and the provincial government, which is the new wharf landlord, is completed.

This arrangement is expected to be signed in about a week, said Charles Littledale of B.C. Assets and Lands.

He said the Hope Bay situation is being given top priority as it is interfering with Van Der Valk’s business project.

B.C. Assets and Lands will be offering Van Der Valk a 20 to 30-year lease for part of the area on which his building is being constructed.

Littledale said Van Der Valk might also enter into another leasing agreement with the Capital Regional District concerning a connecting area where a walkway might go between the wharf and the commercial building.

Van Der Valk previously leased the wharf area, on which part of his building is located, from the federal government.

The federal government is divesting itself from authority over docks across Canada.

Van Der Valk now estimates Hope Bay Village completion will probably be in October. His original goal was to open the commercial building this summer.



To read earlier posts in this blog, go to http://www.writingsmall. wordpress.com

Confessions of a Tea Leaf Readerby Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author name at amazon.com

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New hall wants volunteers while ‘experts’ abound

July 20, 2014

On the Gulf Islands, things that are being created in the communities are almost always examined under an extremely strong magnifying glass. No stone is left on turned, no matter how away from the problem at hand that stone might be.

Read on:

Gulf Islands Driftwood, Pender Edition

June 7, 2000

New hall wants volunteers while ‘experts’ abound

by Tanya Lester

Criticism directed towards the community hall board has been among the administrative growing pains at the new facility.

Part of the problem seems to be that some individuals feel they know how to run the hall better than the current volunteer board.

“I haven’t met anyone who isn’t an ‘expert’ on running a community hall,” said Sandy Pearson, who sat on the hall board and is now concentrating a good chunk of his waking hours on the hall’s management committee.

He said a common mantra is “That’s not how they do it in Victoria or Vancouver or Hornby…”

Pearson recently addressed several of the concerns that have caught the ear of the Penders Edition over the last few weeks.

One concern is that the more than $80,000 donated by the Pender Island Community Service Society (PICSS) was not used for segments of the hall construction for which it was earmarked.

The donation was turned over to the hall association in three installments, with the second installment for hall doors and the third for finishing the kitchen.

Pearson said in both these cases other bills were outstanding when the money arrived.

The actual PICSS money went to pay those debts, and other money that came in later covered the expensces for doors and for the kitchen.

He said it was merely a matter of paying debts when they needed to be paid.

PICSS sees nothing wrong with how the hall society spent the money it contributed, said Sally Round, recently elected PICSS president.

Any issues of concern about how the hall society operates as a landlord for Nu-To-Yu have also been blown out of proportion by someone, according to Round.

She said it did take the hall society two months to fix the toilet at Nu-To-Yu. There was also a safety concern about the steps that needed repair.

Round called any difficulties as being the usual “ebbs and flows” in a landlord-tenant relationship and said Pearson has been “great” when problems arise.

She assured the Penders Edition that no one has been “marching in the streets.”

There is also the matter about the hall mural project that has been relocated until it is completed. Pearson explained there was worry that the plywood boards being used by the artists could hurt someone if they fell.

Others believed the artists could focus on their project better elsewhere because the second floor, where they were working, is now being used for performance rehearsals.

Pearson said it is not true that the hall board is interfering with what will go on the murals as they are not artists themselves.

He said the murals will be hung to meet safety standards in the hall when they are completed.

Another rumour is that community groups, such as the Girl Guides, have been denied access to the hall. “Everyone has been offered the hall,” said Pearson.

According to Nancy Scott, who is associated with the Girl Guides, the group has had no problems with the hall administrators. She said they continue to meet at Pender Island School because it is more convenient for them to meet there.

There may be confusion as to how to go about booking a spot at the hall…

Then there is the misunderstanding about the wedding reception. Pearson said there was a delay in responding to the parties involved because it was the hall association’s first request to use the space for a wedding. For this reason, rental rates needed to be discussed and set. The board concern was that they might be too low.

In response to requests in a survey done before the hall was constructed, Pearson said the hall will now be open for drop-in…

It is suggested that people come by the hall to spend time in the lounge, have a cup of coffee, read a magazine or play cards…


To read earlier posts in this blog, go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com
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Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or the first pages can be read & the book bought from amazon.com

Penders grads say good-bye to water taxi travel

July 16, 2014
Often when I tell people that students in the southern Gulf Islands travel by water taxi every day to go to the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) and, in some cases, to Salt Spring Middle School as well, they often refer to this as stunningly idyllic.

So did I, I guess, until I lived on Salt Spring Island, had my son in the school system and attended parent-teacher meetings. That is when I found out, it is an exhausting travel experience for many of these young people. In the winter, they often leave home in the dark and return home when it is dark.

When I was doing the Penders Islands beat for the Gulf Islands Driftwood, I wrote the following piece:

Gulf Islands Driftwood Pender Islands Edition
June 7, 2000
Penders grads say good-bye to water taxi travel

Tracking down Gulf Islands Secondary School graduates last Sunday, after Saturday’s end-of-high-school celebrations, was not an easy task.

The Penders Edition did manage to make contact with two of the six Penders students among them.

Ryan Whalley said he will mixx the close friendships he has made on the water taxi but will not miss the ride or rising each morning at 6 a.m.

Whalley has a summer job at Bedwell Harbour Resort and Marina. He hopes to follow that with a year of work before attending another year in college. Then, he wants to head to university.

Biology and chemistry are his interests — biology because “you get to see how everything works in our bodies” and chemistry because it helps answer questions like “why iron rusts.”

Whalley won a compact phone at the graduation dance on Saturday.

Ginny Grimmer will also miss her friends now that school is over. She plans to take some courses in North Vancouver that will lead to work as a stewardess on Coast Guard ships. This will give her the opportunity to travel.

The big paycheque appeals to her as well as the two weeks on/two off work schedule. Grimmer thinks she will spend her free time doing more travelling.

She received a blanket in the graduation draw at the weekend celebration.

Other Penders graduates hovering somewhere between Salt Spring and their home islands are Cameron Bell, Keven Biagioni, Jesse Kirkby and Matthew Jamieson…




To read earlier posts in this blog, please go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com

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Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author at amazon.com

Salt Spring artist partial to ‘happy accidents’

July 15, 2014

Salt Spring Island has a lot of everything that a lot of us find appealing in life. I have said it before and I will say it again that when I settle down again and quit my gypsy ways, I think it will be in another country.

Why? Because I have probably lived in the best place in Canada by living on Salt Spring Island for a decade and a half. For a gypsy, though, even living in the best place in a country is not enough after awhile (the gossip starts to get to you among other things) so I would like to move on to another best place in another country, I think.

But, yes, Salt Spring Island has a lot of everything and this includes many, many, many visual artists of all kinds and talents.

Here is one among many profiles I wrote about artists while living on Salt Spring:

Gulf Islands Driftwood
December 8, 1999
Salt Spring artist partial to ‘happy accidents’
by Tanya Lester

Lorne Shantz knows his place.

Since 1991, the place he has chosen to document with his brush and watercolours is Salt Spring Island, working anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 hours a day in his studio at his condominium on Lower Ganges Road.

The result is more than 100 paintings in which his strong definition makes the watercolour look a little like oil painting.

The scenes — a woden bridge in Duck Creek Park, Fulford-Ganges Valley as viewed from Mount Maxwell, boats around the island, horses in Ruckle Park — are familiar with a realistic depiction marked with obvious talent.

“I’ve always dabbled in painting since high school,” Shantz said recently about his work over tea at Sweet Arts Cafe where some of his work is on display. “Usually I see different things that appeal to me. It might be the colours or the light; a play of light and dark that intrigues me. Each one of them, I think, is part of me.”

When Shantz sees something that catches his eye, he often has his photographer wife, Colleen, take a picture. Then, he goes back to his studio with the photo and sometimes a quick sketch of the scene or subject.

Boating is Shantz’ other passion and Ganges harbour was one of the family’s regular ports of call for years before they took up residency here.

Aptly enough, watercolours of boats have become one of his specialties.

Other boat enthusiasts began to see Shantz’ artistic talent and many have commissioned him to do paintings of their sailboats.

This fall, Shantz donated a painting as the first-place raffle prize at the local sailing club to support the Terry Fox Run for cancer research.

It generated three painting sales for him, proving that giving is connected with receiving.

Shantz’ work is also a bargain. “I don’t ask a fortune for them (the watercolours) because I like them to keep moving,” he said. “I price them within people’s reach.”

His paintings have moved into homes right across Canada, the United States and even as far away as Ireland and Venezuela, but his first sale was a beach scene bought by Salt Springers Jim and Carol Helset.

Shantz began selling his paintings to support the costly “habit” of painting: purchasing paints, canvases and other art supplies.

One time, he sold a painting of a man’s boat to the owner who lives in Washington state. A while later, Shantz got a letter from the man. When he opened it, money fell out with a note saying that he was paying Shantz more for the painting because it was giving the boat owner such pleasure to look at it.

“It’s easy to say follow your heart,” said Shantz when asked about doing what one wants in life. “Lots of times that’s not economically possible. I’m so happy to be doing the things I want to do now.”

The “denouement” in Shantz’ story is one that provides hope for many of us.

Despite his interest in art as a young man, Shantz went to work in the automobile service industry after high school. It was one of those things. He got married, started a family and bought a house in Port Moody where he had grown up after moving there from Winnipeg at the age of 11.

Thirty-eight years in the service industry where he worked as foreman for a Cadillac dealership was not easy. He was responsible for 28 employees and had to “satisfy everyone”, including the staff and manufacturer, while keeping the warranty account down.

“It was a very stressful job, especially the last 20 years,” said Shantz. “I wasn’t sorry to see it behind me.”

Not that retirement has been perfect. Of the seven children in his blended family, two died as young men.

It was in retirement, though, that Shantz met someone who recognized his talent, got him some paper and paints; and encouraged him.

He usually paints early in the morning and enjoys visitors, who are interested in his work, dropping in for coffee.

Shantz said one Oregon couple bought five of his paintings from two different Salt Spring galleries. They phoned him because they wanted to meet the man whose work had intrigued them.

“I love the feel of watercolours,” Shantz said. “I like the way they flow together and I like the happy accidents.”…


To read earlier posts on this blog, go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com
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Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author name at amazon.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.