Sunday, April 09, 2017


Apparently, Canadians say certain words with a funny accent. It's disconcerting to tell a story and lose the train of thought because everyone is doubled over laughing at your word choices. It was all in good fun with no maliciousness but it did make me hyper-conscious of words.

As a result, I took my time speaking and worked around trigger words (out, about, neighbour and colour even though the u is silent in the latter two). My awareness expanded. I realized how lazy we've become in our speech. We rely on the same group of words and patterns in our everyday speech. Text speak has invaded our vocalizations. I embarrassed to admit I actually said LOL instead of laughing the one day.

Language is fluid. It grows, changes and corrects course all the time. Even churches are moving away from Latin in an effort to reach younger parishioners. It's natural to resist the changes if you're from an older generation and eager to embrace them if you're younger.

In the meantime,I'll take my Canadian accent outside to walk about the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DAV rain boots

I bought my original pair of DAV rain boots in 2014. I wear them Autumn, Winter and Spring pretty much exclusively. They owe me NOTHING! I love them I have the Bristol solid black but there are so many cute, practical, styles from which to choose.  Go shop. They are comfortable, fun and versatile.

Their customer service is beyond excellent. I mentioned on a Facebook forum that mine leaked. I received an email and credit from the co-founder of the company for a replacement pair. They have never heard of Bristol boots leaking.Considering how hard I am on footwear, I'm surprised they lasted three years!

Plus, they look great with a pair of tights and a tunic.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Sunday photo prompt


Instinct took over the instant the glass slammed on to the table with enough force to dispel the olive from the martini.

"Run Henry, run!" Sylvie grabbed her younger brother and half dragged him out the front door.

"No." He resisted her efforts and dug in his heels.

Their father lumbered to his feet and beat them to the porch edge. "Wait!!"

"Sylvie!" Both of the males in her life impeded her flight.

Henry slipped around in front of her to restrain her with two hands on her arms. "It's okay, Sylvie."

She shook her head. It wasn't okay. It would never be okay. The rancid scent of fear filled her nostrils

"Sylvie." Her father settled his weight on the top step, effectively blocking her path. Henry enfolded her in his arms and slowly lowered the two of them to the porch floor. "It's okay."

Feeling and sense slowly returned to her limbs as Henry gently stroked her hair and whispered assurances.

"She's gone." Her father placed a tentative hand upon Sylvie's foot. The familiar gesture cut across the terror and years. "She can't hurt any of us now."

Sylvie shivered then exhaled a long breath.

"That's my girl." Her dad offered a bittersweet smile.

"How long did it last this time?" She shoved her hand through her hair, amazed as always to see white streaks in the long blonde strands.

Henry smoothed his hands down her arms then set her away from him. "Just a minute. Dad knocked his glass to the floor. Ice cubes went everywhere and you bolted."

Her father patted her foot. "No one got hurt."

She searched her brother's gaze for any contradiction. "Dad's right. No one got hurt. You shut down right away."

Sylvie shuddered. It had been years, decades really, since she'd withdrawn so deep into a memory. Therapy and a wide variety of coping mechanisms made all the difference.

But the sound of smashing glass never failed to strike her numb with terror.

She traced the ropy scars on Henry's forearm and hands. Her kind, gentle brother was the bravest man she'd ever known. The first time she'd lost herself in the rush of traumatic memories she'd knocked over a candle and set her dress on fire.

Henry had reached into the flames and saved her.

As he'd continued to save her from danger, both real and remembered, ever since.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


A friend called me for animal advice this morning. I have a lot of contacts in health, behaviour and rescue. Over the course of the conversation,  she commented on my ability to find the good in any situation.

That's how I cope. I find the silver linings in clouds. That can be as simple as the unusual shape or colour of the cloud. I'm not immune to the fact that there's a severe thunderstorm raging all around me. Instead, I focus on the safety of our shelter,  the electric charge in the air, the way people gather together to share resources.

I've felt unbearably sad today for no discernable reason. The weather was sunny and warm so I played outside with the dogs. I finished reading a good book out in the fresh air. I drove with the car windows down.

And I helped my friend brainstorm a solution to her animal problem.

At the end of the day, helping someone else is a good way to help yourself.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Real Life has been kicking ass and taking names, leaving me exhausted. The constantly changing weather hasn't helped but every single day at least One Good Thing happens regardless of whether I post it or not.

I'm finally back in the routine of writing.I genuinely like both of my main characters and enjoy getting to know them. As a bonus, I watch a lot of hockey -  for research purposes.  Okay, truth be told, I already watch three or four games a week but now I watch teams and broadcasts other than my team.

Life is good. Lots of changes in this household but they are all improvements. No, the toaster oven wasn't broken. I checked the wrong plug. But the new toaster oven was on sale. It also toasts a lot faster and more efficiently than the old appliance. Our smoke detectors work.

I've got a lot of creative project irons in the fire. They make me happy.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Middle Niece won four golds, one silver, one bronze and Most Creative at her gymnastics competition in the morning. Her younger sister was the only one in her group at Cheer to perform a back flip without a spotter.  We went for dinner afterward with these two increase, poised young ladies. It was wonderful to watch them go from performance personal back into two under-ten year old who giggle over food and tell silly jokes with no clear punchline.

Still,  it was interesting to glimpse their futures - Olympics 2024.  We're all saving up for that.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Cozy blankets, hot tea, puppy on my feet

Stress-cleaning, not eating, strange switch from the past.

Reading, writing, reading some more

Nothing exciting to see here as I work through some life stuff. Simple pleasures can make the difference between sanity and barking mad.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


My friend and I go out to the Jordan House for buffalo cauliflower. But it was snowing and freezing rain today so instead of going out, I made my own from this recipe.


We finished it off with frozen bananas mixed with fine cocoa and walnuts.

The weather sidelined a lot of my plans for the day but it all turned out well.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Young 'uns

My DNe's friend told me that he likes to spend time with me, that I always help him relax. That was sweet. He has high anxiety.

I spent time with my pregnant friend today. It's her first. I think she's going to go early. The baby really dropped since last week. I better finish up the shark blanket - that I haven't even started.

Puppies playing in the snow always make me smile. Technically,  none of our three are puppies any more you'd never know that to watch them race like cartoon characters around the cold, white yard.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Lots of good things

Today's good things include fair trade dark chocolate, projects that distract me in a positive way, vegan doughnuts and the joy on my coworkers faces when I shared that box of deliciousness.

My TBR pile grew by three books this evening. I love opening the shipments of new books at work. They smell like comfort, adventure, knowledge and hope.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Stress reducing

The last three days have been over-the-top stressful.  Every day, I've found something good to help me remember that "this too shall pass" .

I'm most proud of how I've moved away from stress eating. Vegetables first has been the mantra that fills me before I reach for cookies or chips. I need to be healthier and that's starting to stick.

Threading my fingers through Ky's fur grounds me. Today, I left an angry, non-productive interaction and took the dogs for a drive. We got out and walked alongside the Niagara River. The rush of water over the Falls rarely fails to put things into perspective.

Finn saw ducks and geese and nearly lost his puppy mind. That seemed to amuse Ky.

We stopped at my favourite tree by an old stone fence. The garbage scow still rests where it ran aground 90 years ago.

There's new graffiti since my last visit over a month ago. I took it to heart.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Could be worse

Instead of stress eating today, I did some cleaning and organizing. That's a win on several levels.

It did lead to the question, is my thing for notebooks out of control. These were just the ones I found in one drawer.

Saturday, February 04, 2017


I went to one friend's house to help her embroider a chair cushion.  I had clearly misunderstood.  She needed help recovering the chair cushions. That was good as I had no idea how I was supposed to embroider leather. We pieced and pinned everything together. Another friend is going to do the sewing as it will much faster with her machine that with my hand sewing. The bonus was the time spent with two friends do instead of one.

I'm also going to learn how to use the sewing machine that lives in the front closet. I might also look for my great-grandmother 's small machine. I carted it around for years from one house to the next thinking it was my grandpa's old typewriter.

I adjusted a graph pattern yesterday so that the reindeer is now a moose. I can knit that now. It will fit my friend's granddaughter next fall/winter.

The puppy and parrot played tag last night. I laughed til I cried.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017


I wrote the following on Facebook yesterday.

My home is sanctuary for any and all who need it. I was raised by both of my parents to give everyone a chance. Race, creed, color and gender were not to be used as determining factors but rather a person should be taken on face value and, at most, measured by their actions. Never judged. We always shared whatever we had with those who had less. We invited strangers into our homes to share meals and holidays. We were encouraged to work in our communities in ways that made life better for all. Of course, we're not paragons of perfection. We all have biases. It is important to see past that to the value each life has.

Historically,  Canadians are peacekeepers.  I cherish that role. It took me to Germany where there were constant reminders of desperate people believing the disguise evil quickly shed. I grew up hearing first hand accounts of the war, and how it affected ordinary people.

I was five years old when we moved there and what I learned dug deep into my soul and grew roots. I knew and loved individuals, families and businesses. The war wasn't some dusty dry recitation in class about evil people. Most of those I loved had been Nazis, or silent. They kept their heads down and tried to survive. Their shame and regret were palpable. But history could not be altered no matter how much anyone tried to rewrite it.

My home is a sanctuary. I welcome all who are in need. I always have. I always will. I'm not blind to hate, not blind to fear. I've experienced both from opposite perspectives. 

Love trumps hate. Canada has her problems. We will never all agree on the best way to meet common needs for security, for shelter, for equality, justice or business. But if we continue to deny fear and hatred, we have a shot not only of surviving but thriving.

Today I went to our local mosque to offer support and to learn more about being Muslim as they opened their doors to celebrate #WorldHijabDay. It was an incredible experience. My niece and I were shown different styles for wrapping the scarf and each gifted with our own. We had our hands dyed with henna. The Iman spoke about everyone being free to choose whether to cover their heads, necks and shoulders - or not. He took questions from the curious and answered with a great deal of openness and honesty.  We had a tour of the mosque then sat as a group in the women's prayer room and learned more about Islam. The five pillars of faith are remarkably similar to Christianity.

In one of those nice tricks of synchronicity that I so adore, I tripped over this shirt at the bazaar.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


This face

And this face

And these interactions

Unfortunately,  I've yet to catch Finn and Amidala beak to snout on camera.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


So many great conversations today with people on Facebook, Twitter, texts, phone and in person reminded me how connected and caring most people are to exchange other. We are not doomed.

The other day, a friend asked me if there were any non-sugar treats I would consider comfort food. Nope. Then I went shopping today while hungry. I was looking for a high protein snack and saw the nut aisle. Pecans. Pecans are a great food. They're high in protein and I associate them with a dear friend who provides me with sanctuary in which to write every year.

One more good thing - I listened. Someone struggling with some big life issues didn't need my advice or opinion. They simply needed to be heard. It made a huge difference to them.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Portable standing desk

Work was crazy busy, the world took a collective step back in shock then hundred of thousands rushed forward to defend the persecuted. My faith in humanities rewarded today. There are who love and trust than those who do not.

In much smaller, less significant news, I transformed this
A raggedy old microwave cart
Into this

Friday, January 27, 2017

Julia's cat

Julia ignored the doorbell. She needed to focus up the paint on the tabletop before the paw prints set.

When the cat had first jumped atop the table she was upcyclinging it with bright red paint, Julia had laughed. Until the bloody cat leapt off the table onto her grandmother's antique buffet then across the ancient damask settee, leaving bright red paw prints in his wake.

The doorbell pealed again.

She swathed the brush across the surface, evening out her strokes for a smooth finish.

The doorbell gave way to a rapid tattoo of fists against the front door.  "Mrs. James!"

 "Oh, for fucks sake." Clasping the cat to her chest, Julia set the paint brush on the lid of the can then strode down the hall.

She wrenched open the front door. "What?"

 The neighbor gasped. "Are you alright? I heard screaming. You're covered in blood."

 Julia looked at herself in the mirror hanging in her front hall. Splatters of red dotted her face and chest. Streaks dripped from her hands. "It's just paint."

 She adjusted the weight of the cat against her midsection. He'd finally stopped cater walling.

The neighbor looked down. "I heard screams."

 "I yelled at the cat when he ran across the table top." Julia moved to close the door.

The neighbor stepped into the doorway before Julia could shut her out. "But the cat -"

 "He won't do it again."

"I can see that. Let me take him from you." The neighbor gently extracted the cat's still warm body from Julia's grasp.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


I lost a photo that means a great deal to me. A friend of mine took it in Scotland many years ago. We later discovered that was less than five miles from where my great-grandmother was born.

Looking at it reminds me of my own trip to the farm down the road as well as trying to recreate the photo when I stood in the same spot. I can smell the dew on the thistle, feel the early morning mist on my skin and remember the sense of being watched from behind the ferns. It also reminds me of the first time I met my friend. It stars a lot of emotions. I moved the photo when I switched the living room arrangement.

I sorted through, cleaned and decluttered the living room in the search. My friend is gone now so the photo is irreplaceable. I'm not sure what the photo was doing down by the spinning wheel but it's now hanging on the living room wall. In the process, I organized my home.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Brainstorming plot points with good friends who are also writer always puts a smile on my face. It's a great deal of fun when we get together. It turns out I had a strong conflict, I simply needed to clarify my thought process. Phew!

I figured out how to make a portable standing desk. I don't mind writing longhand in a notebook but at some point it needs to be input to the computer.

It was a good day from a writing standpoint.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Baby day

My day started with a fantastic dream. All the excitement I felt in the dream translated to an adrenaline rush that actuality woke me. It took a long time to get my heart rate under control. It was a portent of opportunity.

After work, I spent time with my friend who is pregnant with her first child. We bought stuff for the baby room and returned multiples of gifts she received at her baby shower. Man, there's a lot of stuff required for newborns. The cool mist humidifier shaped like an owl is on my friends list. I prefer the Darth Vader one.

I came home to another newborn. A young friend became a first time father this week. He brought his baby girl by so we could meet her. She's Beautiful,  of course. He loves being a dad. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy.

Imagine seeing the world with fresh eyes. Everything is a wonder. And their little worlds are filled with love.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017


I didn't march today
I didn't walk.
I didn't protest.

I did talk to my nieces about why women around the world wore pink hats and took to the streets. We talked about a long history of the perception of women as instruments of men's pleasure. We talked about the right to choose, the right to marry, the right to practice your religion, about the right to vote, to march, to protest. We talked about supporting each other and letting those who feel suppressed, oppressed or disenfranchised know that they are not alone.

We talked about why people in 75 countries felt the need to gather in support.

We talked about history being made today.

We talked about hope and how those seas full of pink hats filled our hearts with the emotion we believed to be lost.

We talked. We planned. We hope.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


I spent a lot of today ignoring the news by working on my outline and opening chapter. The heroine's conflict was a bit light. I looked through my notebooks and couldn't find anything. I know I brainstormed her arc.

Because I can't find my notes, I've spent some time thinking about it. In the process, I fleshed out other scenes.

The chiropractor gave me a pamphlet of exercises and therapies my hero would undertake. She also guided me in how to ruin his career as a hockey player.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Some is better than none

I had planned to get a lot more work done on the current wip. I only got so far as tweaking the outline. I need to do a bit more research before I start the opening chapter.  Fortunately I have an appointment with my chiropractor tomorrow. She'll be able to help me injure my team captain in a way that could put an end to his career. Or not. I haven't decided yet.

Torturing characters is immensely cathartic.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


The best thing about being back to work is meeting all the new books that arrived while I was off sick. I'm most happy to lose myself in Resolve. It's a fast paced suspense. Every time, I think I have it figured out, it turns. I don't want to put it down. I'm going to need to read everything by J.J. Hensley. As a former member of the United States Secret Service, he has an interesting perspective on politics.

Check him out. You can thank me later

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Handy woman

Armed with my trusty wrench, more patience than I thought I possessed and this book

I fixed the kitchen sink.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


There's so much joy in these two videos. They made me smile for different reasons.


Barn Dance
Highland Dance

Friday, January 13, 2017

Short list of good things

Hockey.  And my team won! I'm not sure why we're possessive about athletes and sports. Very few of us actually own a team.

More good reading today.

Throwing toys for the puppy who has been patient with me was a good way to burn off some of his energy without stealing what breath I have.

Not a lot of big things these days but like one of our library regulars always says,"I woke up on the right side of the grass." That's always a good thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Loaded with cough syrup and inhalers, I am off work until Monday.  As every breath wheezes,  I lost myself and discomfort in a good book. I started in the doctor's waiting room and just closed the back cover. I suspect it will stick with me for a long time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


The science of Cosmos has entertained me all day as has an article about octopus brains and sentience.  There is so much more to this world than any of us realize. I find that comforting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Friends arrived home safely from their travels whole others embarked on new adventures.

DNe got his dream job. This is very happy news. I'm thrilled for him. It involves travel, art and many opportunities.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Simple blessings

Today's good things aren't much different than yesterday's. I'd add oil of oregano and universal health care to my blessings.

And ginger ale. This cold would be more miserable without those things.

I've binged on Cosmos which taught me a lot about the universe while I recuperate. It's entertaining, beautiful and informative.

Sunday, January 08, 2017


Today I appreciate food, shelter, and warmth.

Flannel sheets fresh from the dryer, hot tea, warm blanket. An orange to chase away the vile taste of oil of oregano.

Cold paws warming on my lap. Warm breath against my cheek.

Strong walls refusing the icy reach of winter's claws.

Saturday, January 07, 2017


Today's good things involved friends, hot tub in frigid weather, puppies playing in the yard and strange service at a local restaurant.  I made lemonade out of the lemony confusion. 

Good laughs. That's what today ended up being about despite a clunky start

Thursday, January 05, 2017


Two parcels arrived in today's mail. One was socks I ordered from Sock Dreams  primarily because a portion of the sale went to Planned Parenthood - fashion with a purpose.

The other package was from a friend. She's been putting things aside for some time and finally sent them. Three pairs of socks, a stack of family DVDs, notebooks, fudge and cookies. The contents were lovely but what truly made it special was the thought behind each item. People think of you more than you realize.

In writing news, I have rough outlines for the next three stories in the current series. The opening chapter is shaping up. This paragraph makes me happy.

So do socks. It's cold here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


I spent some time last night thinking about the next story in a possible series. Once I changed the heroine's name, the story started to click.

This morning, I brainstormed online with a writing pal. Ideas poured out of both of us. Not all of them were suitable for the current characters but fit two other heroes. Basically,  we figured out three storylines today.

Even better, I turned down a Toblerone bar. The only thing I like better than that is Dove dark chocolate and almonds or dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. The latter two are not available in Canada. That's a very good thing.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Life imitates art

In the search for my character's motivation,  I found my own.

In other news, I didn't default to my usual coping mechanism. All the chocolate I received in the mail yesterday remains untouched. Small victory.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Right on Target

My American friends tease me about my need to stop at Target on every visit. I am not petite. Target carries the perfect jeans for my shape and size. Aside from that, there are huge differences in the quantity of items, particularly in the food aisles, between American and Canadian stores.

A few weeks ago, the pup snagged a hole in my last pair of jeans that I'd stockpiled before Target closed its doors in Canada . I lamented that on Twitter. Target shared a link to international orders.

My new jeans arrived today. Yes, I paid more in duty and shipping than I would have by driving across the border. However, I wouldn't have stopped at just jeans so I figure I saved money doing it this way. I definitely bought considerably less dark chocolate than I usually do.

I'm pleased with myself, and Target's online presence. I'll definitely use it again.

I also made progress on my new story. I can't rest on my laurels while I wait to hear how yesterday's submission was received.

Stealth writer

Sunday, January 01, 2017

One Good Thing returns

It's easy to get caught up in the big picture and fail to see all the little details that give the portrait life.

To that end, every day I'm going to post at least One Good Thing that happened in that 24 hour period.

My morning started with a few giggles as Finn and I chased each other around the house then wrestled on my bed. Afterward, Ky and I snuggled on the floor.

I submitted my novel. I think the rolling stomach was from good nerves.

I made mushroom soup from scratch.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won the outdoor Centennial Classic.

The air outside smelled fresh and clean

I watched Finn chase sunbeam through the house like a cat.