Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 9, 2018

The Middle Years Alphabet

Check out this link

This page is under reconstruction but it’s a great concept. The videos still work but my email address (as noted at the end of the overview iMovie is now I’ve also designed a booklet to go along with the alphabet – always looking to make things better!

Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 8, 2018

1000 copies – For Sale?

Hi Language Arts/English teachers everywhere. It’s been just over 10 years since Pembroke Publishers of Markham, Ontario published my book Essay Writing – Teaching the Basics from the Ground Up. I am currently working with the publisher to regain my copyright to the print and eBook editions.

Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 7.12.51 PM.png

The only hiccup is that I need to purchase the printed copies currently sitting on Pembroke’s shelves. As the author, I get a good deal but I will need to put on a major push to sell my new acquisitions.

So here’s the deal. I’m planning to sell the books for somewhere in the neighbourhood of $15 Canadian (a substantial reduction from the current $24.95) AND include a copy of my unpublished book, Poetry and Song, AND include my services (for expenses only) to workshop ideas from either book or my blog.

Further planning is required but that’s the essence. A work in progress. Nothing definite as yet. More soon.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | November 15, 2017

Toastmasters – Tuesday, November 14

Tuesday, November 14 It was a “National Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day” themed session

at Sunrise Toastmasters. Jock’s speech was titled “A Road Trip” and was Speech #7 (Research Your Topic). He described a journey down a road less travelled from Red Deer to Lake Louise. Kendra’s speech was titled “Ayurveda: What It Is And How You Can Use It.” It was Speech #3 (Get to the Point). Having been to India, Kendra shared her thoughts (some times breathtaking) about how Ayurveda affects wellness.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | August 5, 2017

Return to Toastmasters

In March, I returned to Toastmasters; I joined the Sunrise Toastmasters Club. They meet every Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. It’s a great group and I am thoroughly enjoying my return after over 30 years away. I will record my progress and my content for those who may care to follow along. My second speech is on YouTube and now (I hope) is here.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | March 22, 2017

New words to existing poems

One of the easiest ways to get students excited about poetry is to share the best (in this case, a personal favourite: The Cremation of Sam McGee) and then have them write new words. Here’s my attempt: Version 2

There Are Strange Things Done On the Golf Course, Son

By Jock Mackenzie


There are strange things done on the golf course, son

By the hacks who haunt the links.

The tees and the greens and the in-betweens

Could tell some tales methinks.

The summer days have seen displays

Of the famous and of the renowned,

But this tale of strife is about my wife

When she asked to play a round.

To “play a round” is a welcome sound

But “golfing” is what she meant.

She loved me dearly and showed it clearly –

What could I do? We went!

Now my blushing bride and my manly pride

Were truly in for a test

They call it a “game” but what’s in a name?

I never have been so stressed.

On the fateful day when we made our way

To the course where I belong,

She was dressed to the nines and lookin’ so fine

I guessed that I had been wrong.

What could possibly mar this quest for a par?

What tragedy could ensue?

A husband and wife should share in their life

And be more like one than two.

I gave her a peck as she waited on deck,

And wondered if it would do

If she wouldn’t mind or could be resigned

To a helpful hint or two.

She turned to me and, “No,” said she,

“Just trust me in this, my love.

I saved and I paid for some teaching aides –

I bought Butch Harmon’s gloves.

And this Speed Stick thing from Vijay Singh,

Well it works just like a charm.

Then to help my stroke, they’ve invented this yoke

That I strap to my waist and my arm.

My putting machine, my workout routine, the bracelet for my wrist

They’re all guaranteed; I know I’ll succeed – so no advice, I insist.”

A wife’s request, as you may have guessed,

Is something you don’t ignore

So my wife and me, we stepped to the tee,

I couldn’t resist any more.

I silently cursed cuz I had to hit first; I wrestled to solve the riddle.

Was it protocol to hit the ball long and down the middle?

I stood at address, then gave it my best,

My drive went straight and true

I peeked at my bride; she was beaming with pride.

She said, “Now for my debut.”

My sweet little lass knelt down in the grass,

And jammed in her tee with a twist

Then over the ball she tried to recall all of the things on her list.

Her muscles went taut as she mentally fought

To remember just what to do.

The tension was clear; the moment was here

And then right out of the blue

Like a gong to a bell, her three wood just fell

She really had given her all

Yet still on the tee was that shiny Pro V

Oh no! She had missed the ball.

With unshattered pride she stepped back and sighed

(Ever the consummate actress)

“Don’t look so concerned; there’s one thing I learned –

Always start with a practice.

One waggle, one wiggle, one little hip jiggle,

She drew back her club low and steady

Then just like a pro, so smoothly and slow,

She hit it just like she was Freddie.

A Fred Couple’s swing is a beautiful thing

She’d hit it on the screws!

A speck was all you could see of the ball

As it climbed into the blue

It fell from the sky and it rolled right by my drive

(My ego was jarred)

She was tickled pink, then she gave me a wink,

and said, “Golf’s not so hard.”

So the round began – a woman, her man –

In truth I feared the worst.

I was thunderstruck. Was her drive just luck

Or was my bubble to burst?

But the game we play seems to have a way

At revenge, as if by design

It’s a slippery slope, give and take of hope,

It gives both ‘rain’ and ‘shine’

My bride and I had some lows and some highs

Flashes of glory and fame

Some time at the beach (golf’s figure of speech)

Shots ranging from awesome to lame.

It became quite clear my initial fear

That my wife would clean my clock

Was the silly thought of a man distraught

I relaxed and enjoyed the walk.

And since that day, I look back and say

I’m amazed at the prize I found

On the course of life, with my love, my wife

When she asked to play a ‘round.’

A chance to go and a chance to grow

To golf with the one meant for me

On the tees and the greens and the in-betweens

It’s the way that it should be.

There are strange things done on the golf course, son

By the hacks who haunt the links

Your mom and your dad will always be glad

To share the tale, methinks.

Of the summer day we went to play

Together as husband and wife

We’re the twosome who grew some

And now we’re a pairing

As we walk down the fairway of life.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | October 31, 2016

CARETAKING at Purcell Mountain Lodge


My bride and I had been to Purcell Mountain Lodge about 8 or 10 years ago. We LOVED our winter weekend. At the time, we heard that the lodge used caretakers in the off-season to – you guessed it – take care of the lodge. Now we’re here, all by ourselves, and we still LOVE it.

Arrival Day: Monday, October 17


Mark Adams was our pilot. He gave excellent instructions about how to safely get into the helicopter, how to open and close the doors, how to put on and put away the safety belt, told us about the head sets, and reminded us to keep anything we carried below waist level. As you can see from the picture above, skis go in the carry box but so do soft-sided carry bags. We are asked to leave the coolers and hard suitcases at home.

The “banana box” is the carrying container of choice. (So popular – because of the numerous lodges in the area – that Golden grocery stores are often ‘out of stock.’ There’s a side compartment on the side of the helicopter that can handle 5 such boxes. A number can be found at the lodge – some in the tool room and some under the lodge near the wood storage area.

Purcell people know what’s is going to the lodge and what is leaving the lodge – no flight is ever left empty. e.g. supplies coming up, garbage and recycling going down. Alpine staff have no idea which is which SO a labeling system has been devised. Anything going out should be tagged with orange flagging tape – and labeled.


Friday, October 21, 2016

  • Minus 4.2 and clear
  • caretaking-at-purcell-026
  • Our three favourites were Scrabble (the Deluxe set with a cool scoring book in the drawer), cribbage and the harder and more challenging than it looks Chinese checkers. (Chinese Checkers was invented in the USA)
  •  Baked bread and energy bars for our stay here

Saturday, October 22, 2016

  • Minus 2.9, very light snow at 8:00 a.m., overcast but became sunny for the rest of the day
  • caretaking-at-purcell-042  caretaking-at-purcell-041 caretaking-at-purcell-046
  •   caretaking-at-purcell-045   caretaking-at-purcell-044
  • caretaking-at-purcell-067
  • I would highly recommend a look at these two books in particular as they give a history of the area. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Minus 5.8, overcast, very light snow for a bit in the morning, flat light til early p.m. then got brighter

Monday, October 24, 2016

Minus 2.3, clear

  • Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    • 0 degrees

    Wednesday, October 26, 2016

    • caretaking-at-purcell-066

    Thursday, October 27, 2016

    • Minus 0.4

    Friday, October 28, 2016

    • Minus 1.7

    Saturday, October 29, 2016

    • Minus 3.7
    • Worked on knitting and wood carving

    Monday, October 31, 2016

    • minus 2.7
    • monday-oct-31-001monday-oct-31-002

    Tuesday, November 1, 2016

    • Minus 4 degrees and snowing. It blew a lot during the night and continued to snow for much of the day

    Wednesday, November 2, 2016

    • minus 1.5 degrees

    Thursday, November 3, 2016

    • 0.8 degrees

    Friday, November 4, 2016

    • minus2.0
Posted by: jockmackenzie | August 10, 2016

House Concert

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 7.52.18 PM

13 spots remaining

Hello relative, friend, neighbour

We’re doing it again . . . and this time with a major artist: WiL. The WiL Mimnaugh Trio will perform in our living room (seating for up to 50) on the evening of Tuesday, September 13. They’ll do two sets (all one performance), 7:00 – 8:15 p.m. and 8:40 – 10 p.m.

We will provide the snacks but ask that you bring the beverage of your choice. Tickets are $25 per person. We’re expecting this concert to sell out quickly and experience has shown that it’s best to ask for payment up front, sooooo use PayPal or an e-transfer (or a cheque or cash if that doesn’t work for you. Last time we had a few last minute cancellations which was unfortunate for the performers who do this for a living) I will keep a running account on the number of seats sold and post it on my blog (

Feel free to bring friends or neighbours – just provide names when you get back to me.

Here’s some info on WiL:

William Mimnaugh (aka WiL) is known by many for his guitar-string-breaking, adrenalin packed, live performances but the Quebec born, Calgary raised singer-songwriter is also garnering international attention from a string of songs including ‘Roam’ that feature in Travel Alberta’s award winning media campaign called ‘Remember To Breathe’. His diverse style of writing blends elements of country, rock, folk, blues and straight up pop to create songs that are catchy but not overstated; songs that span a wider musical landscape like those found on his latest album ‘El Paseo’, an album which garnered a nod for Solo Roots Album of the Year at 2015’s WCMA’s. The live arena, however, is where WiL elevates his artistry to a whole other level. As such, his concerts have been coined ‘legendary’, affording him the opportunity to share the stage with such musically diverse artists as Feist, Matt Andersen, Burton Cummings, Ray LaMontagne to name a few. Whether speaking to his masterful passionate string breaking live performance or writing music for film, WiL is in his element – he was simply born to make music.


Janet and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jock and Janet

Jock at 403-357-4895, Janet at 403-358-8837

Youtube Selections

  1. Look Around Live In Studio:
  2. A Whoo Hoo – Official Video:
  3. Make Make – Lyric Video:
  4. Honey Pie Live at Duke Saloon:
Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 19, 2016


Sig - profile pic

Sigmund Brouwer

Reader of the Day #73 Sigmund Brouwer

Sigmund is a Red Deer native and a true inspiration – especially to the Reading College students every July (where he donates his time). I love his books. Every one I’ve read (and I think he’s written over 130) has been a memorable read – from his kids’ books to the adult novels; he has a unique way of capturing one’s interest from the very beginning and adding lots of clever twists and turns.

When I asked him to comment for READER OF THE DAY, Sig said, “I’m an ebook convert. I use the Kindle app to read on my iPhone while waiting in line, on my mini iPad on the couch, and my Kindle reader in bed. I love that my reading progress is synced on all the devices. I read incessantly and omnivorously. Probably 4 books a week, often more. My reading list over the last two weeks has jumped from non-fiction on Vimy Ridge to historical fiction to spy fiction back to non-fiction about Cro-Magnons versus Neanderthals. Currently reading I AM PILGRIM, and it’s on my top ten list for the last year.”

Sigmund’s books on Amazon:

Sigmund’s Rock and Roll Literacy site:

Wikipedia says: Sigmund Brouwer (born 1959) is an author with books published by mainstream and evangelical publishers. He has written books across many genres, from children’s picture books to scientific thrillers, and more.

One of six children born to a family with Dutch heritage, Brouwer is a native of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. He is married to a Christian singer Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.

Brouwer is perhaps most noted for his work with Hank Hanegraaff in the controversial Last Disciple series, released in 2005 and 2006. It is a fictional series set in the “end times” of the 1st century AD, narrated from a Partial-Preterist viewpoint. Brouwer is also the author of the Mars Diaries science fiction series for young adults.

Sigmund Brouwer has nearly 3 million copies of his books in print.[1]


Thief of Glory

Justine McQueen

Dead Man's Switch

Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 17, 2016


Melissa Koster

Reader of the Day #72 Melissa Koster

Melissa is the Assistant Pro at the Innisfail Golf course. When I asked her if she was a reader, her answer was immediate – “You bet.” Jan has golfed with Melissa and knows she can read putts but she also reads books. I asked what she was reading at the moment, and she said, “The Oath by Frank Peretti.” She went on to list a handful of other books Peretti has written: This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness, Monster and more.

Frank Edward Peretti (born January 13, 1951) is a New York Times best-selling author of Christian fiction, whose novels primarily focus on the supernatural. To date, his works have sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Peretti is best known for his novels This Present Darkness (1986) and The Oath (1995). Peretti has held ministry credentials with the Assemblies of God, and formerly played the banjo in a bluegrass band called Northern Cross. He now lives in northern Idaho with his wife, Barbara.


Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 14, 2016


Avery 2 IMG_2344

Reader of the Day #71 Avery Bissonette

Avery is my 7-year-old step-granddaughter and a reader of renown. Avery has grown up “off the grid” in a cabin near Telkwa, BC – no running water, a wood stove, one propane light in the cabin, no TV . . . but lots and lots of books. In the early years, both her mom and dad read to her constantly and, much sooner than most, she was reading on her own.

When I asked her mom to describe what Avery is reading now and what she usually reads, Heather said this:

What she’s reading: The Sea Wolves, Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest by Ian Macalister.

What she normally reads: books about animals, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Animal Friends, The Day the Crayons Quit.

Jock’s note: Books in a series like the Wimpy Kid and Animal Friends are guaranteed winners.

The Sea Wolves: Living Wild in the Great Rain Forest

The Sea Wolves sets out to disprove the notion of “the Big Bad Wolf,” especially as it is applied to coastal wolves—a unique strain of wolf that lives in the rainforest along the Pacific coast of Canada. Genetically distinct from their inland cousins and from wolves in any other part of the world, coastal wolves can swim like otters and fish like the bears with whom they share the rainforest. Smaller than the gray wolves that live on the other side of the Coast Mountains, these wolves are highly social and fiercely intelligent creatures.

Living in the isolated wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest, coastal wolves have also enjoyed a unique relationship with man. The First Nations people, who have shared their territory for thousands of years, do not see them as a nuisance species but instead have long offered the wolf a place of respect and admiration within their culture.

Illustrated with almost one hundred of Ian McAllister’s magnificent photographs, The Sea Wolves presents a strong case for the importance of preserving the Great Bear Rainforest for the wolves, the bears and the other unique creatures that live there.

Sea Wolves

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Magical Animal Friends

The Day the Crayons Quit

Older Posts »