Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A year of good things

The most important thing I learned this past year was contradictory. I needed time to feel bad about all the things that went wrong. By committing to posting one good thing a day, I was able to gain perspective on my life.

It really was a year of balance.

While friends and family were a source of concern, sorrow and worry at times they were also my salvation.  Apart from the unconditional love from the critters, those people were most often my Good Thing.

I am truly blessed.  Focusing on the good happening all around me really lly helped me know that in my soul.

Thank you all for being part of a year of Good Things

Monday, December 30, 2013


Susan Barclay nominated me as someone who has had an impact on her blogging experience.  I am honoured by that accolade. 

Susan and I are both librarians who write but we met over the Internet.  If I'm not mistaken, we met over at another writer's blog.     

The rules for this award are very simple:

1. Display the award logo (see left) on your blog. By the way, it seems to have expanded beyond the 'WordPress' family!

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate ten others you see as having an impact on your blogging experience.

4. Let your ten nominees know you have awarded them. 
That’s it!  Now just spread the love!
My nominees are:
KD James - http://kdjames.com/
Elen Grey - http://elengrey.com/
Pirko - http://pirkcrochets.blogspot.ca/
Stashaholic - http://blog.stashaholic.com/
London Mabel -  http://www.mabeltalk.com/

Nancy Herkness - http://fromthegarret.wordpress.com/

Betty Fokker - http://bettyfokker.wordpress.com/

Lisa Deon - http://slcslavedriver.blogspot.ca/
Natalia Maks -  http://blog.stashaholic.com/

I don't have ten because some of the people who have influenced my blogging have stopped doing so themselves.  Having blogged for 350 days this year ( I think I missed about 15 days for a variety of reasons), I can appreciate there are times when it's more difficult than others to find something new and interesting to say.  Life is good, even when it could be better.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Spinach,quinoa, egg,grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumber and feta cheese salad was delicious but the company was better.  I've been blessed to be able to spend the last couple of days with good friends.  

My DNi was fortunate to attend a hockey game with her dad.  Even better, her favorite player scored twice and the team won the game.

Good day

The day was full of laughter, good food and fantastic friends. We shopped for shoes, tried on hats and got fitted for bras which always makes me feel 20 pounds lighter. We met a sweet little dog named Henry at the jewelry shop then saw him again at the boot store, aptly named Heel Boy. We decided Henry was a cross between a corgi and a pug - a porgi. We laughed even harder when I went into the health food store but couldn't remember what I wanted.

Dinner was delicious, of course. A gentleman went in the same time we did. He was sitting by himself for a while so I suggested we invite him to join us if he was stood up. He might have heard me but then his friend arrived.  It was wonderful to be out and about, carefree and irresponsible for a change.

According to Fitbit, we walked three miles. I didn't buy any yarn despite the tour through two shops that had great product. No hats, no boots, no earrings, no coat but a lot of fun trying things on.

All three of us have completely different taste and individual styles but we really enjoy shopping together. It's not usually an activity that I care for so it must be the company that makes the difference. Such good company.

Friday, December 27, 2013


My friend arrived safely from Detroit. She brought a bottle of Winter Classic wine.  Apparently the NHL has a winery. Who knew?  Tomorrow we're meeting up with a mutual friend who is home from California for the holidays. I'm looking forward to the pleasure of their company, good food and some possible shoe shopping. We will likely walk for hours and cover very little distance.

I walked to work this morning. It was a slow trudge but it was nice to be out in the brisk morning air.  It had snowed in the night. Most sidewalks weren't shoveled so I followed some small critter tracks down the one street. They went up a tree.  I went around it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


I have spent the day immersed in Doctor Who backstory. Last night, I watched my first ever episode. It seemed fitting to start with a regeneration from Eleven to Twelve.  I didn't intend to fall into that world, or worlds as the case may be. I was flipping through the channels and tripped over a wrap up of Eleven's time as the Doctor.  It caught my attention so I stuck around for his final episode.

Anything that distracts one. And the idea of regeneration clearly appeals at this moment in time, far more so than others.

So I cleaned, did laundry, knitted while walking on the spot because I also ate date squares for breakfast(fruit and oats).  It's been an odd day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Three bundles of joy bounced into the house and danced through the kitchen.  So much energy in those little bodies but they alleviated the sadness. We watched movies, played games and even opened presents.  The best gift was the reminder that this moment can hold so much more than grief.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

We're plugging away and doing our best. Remembering the Christmas we spent in Florida with my aunt and her husband has made us laugh a few times. She was a big kid who loved all the silliness of stocking stuffers, tacky Santas that ho ho ho'd when you walked past and picking grapefruit off the trees on Christmas Day. I cannot imagine this season without her energy to liven it up.

We're wrapping presents, baking butter tarts and watching the Boris Karloff Grinch. The original is the best.  Rain gave way to snow and it's truly a White Christmas out there.

Stay safe, bask in the warmth of your loved ones and enjoy the day

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bad day

It's been a really hard day. Mom had a bad fall this afternoon followed by a phone call that her baby sister died yesterday. There's no way she will be able to go to the funeral in Florida. Mom is gutted.

The only good thing about today has been the way we've all come together near and far.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Big ice storm last night spared us but not many trees. The carnage was heartbreaking as I drove to work. Ice still bent our guys to the ground when I got home.

I finished the minion hats! I'm particularly thrilled with this one.

My friend and I did our annual wrapping party while we watch Christmas Vacation. Our exchange seemed to have a theme

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Getting in to the spirit

None of the electronic devices were charged last night sonic continued with Christmas presents.
These are the socks for my great aunt.

Today someone came into work and gifted me with three lovely balls of sock yarn as well as a set of DPNs. She decided socks were too ambitious a first knitting project. She’d prefer to stick with crochet. I told her she could crochet socks but she insisted I use the yarn.  I will.

I baked some traditional Fenton treats tonight.  I always think of my great grandpa when I make shortbread. That was always his Christmas gift to us.

I'm still working on Minion hats for the nieces. The faces are hard, but fun.  What do you think? 

The smile looks kinda creepy. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mixed blessings

This morning, I dropped my car off at the garage then walked home.  I was beating myself up for struggling with a 2km walk when I'm the woman who walked 32km this summer from Queenston to Thorold.  That wasn't really fair considering I spent the night alternating between fever and chills, not to mention weird dreams in which my nieces were all nephews and Yoda was communicating on a much deeper level than sports and curiosity about my activities.  Later in the day, I walked back to get the car and it went much better.  Until I paid the bill.  That was higher than expected.

I made a healthy lunch from an acorn squash I bought locally as Autumnal decor when Stashaholic was here in the Fall. I'm allergic to sage so I substituted a clove of garlic in the barley stuffing. It was delicious but nothing says confidence quite like messing with a Jamie Oliver recipe.

I don't send Christmas cards but was delighted to receive one from Elen.  It had a little car putting up and down cute little roads past darling buildings. It was so Elen and her roadmance self.

I made plans to celebrate Winter Solstice with some good friends. Rain or snow, we're going to have a bonfire and celebrate the Longest Night. 

We left it too late to invite my great-aunt and her family for Christmas dinner but we're going to kidnap my aunt for a visit after their Christmas lunch.  She's a sweetheart and I'm always happy to have her company.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I had a productive writer's meeting. I'm ready to start the third section of the horror story. It's changed from the original idea so we batted around the adjustments. The story is stronger this way. That's always a good thing.

I finished an interesting book, decorated the tree and discovered a thirteen pound difference in my appearance between the mirror my parents' front hall and the antique one in my bathroom. I ran up and down the stairs a few extra times tl split the difference.  No more cookies for me until next week.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Little moments

And big smile from a snowplow driver when I moved out of his way was a good thing. He slowed down to see what I was taking a picture of then gave me a thumbs up.

I came up with a way to host Christmas dinner with as little stress as possible. I'll let you know if it works.

Blogger wouldn't let me save or publish my post yesterday and I can no longer remember the content apart from receiving an autographed copy of Joshilyn Johnsons latest.  I have wonderful friends.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Things went well today. No accidents, no breakdowns, no drama.  What a welcome change.

Dinner was delicious and healthy, homemade chicken parmesan.  Okay, we could used some more vegetables but I was editing the horror story while I cooked.  Writing every day really does have positive impact on the story.  The writing is tighter for one thing.  I'm more focused and floundering less in the story-telling.

I did forget to take the camera out again today. I was too busy getting out of the snow-buried driveway and to work this morning. It was dark when I got back. Oddly, every day I count down how little sun Iceland sees per day. It makes me feel better about coming home in the dark. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013


It just occurred to me now to take the camera outside. It's been snowing steadily since yesterday morning and is supposed to continue through the night to end mid-morning tomorrow. It is beautiful out there. The roads are horrible to travel on, mostly because everyone has forgotten how to drive on snow. The easy solution is to stay home.

DNi and I are snuggled together on the couch watching the snow fall outside the window. We just came in from a late night run to the store so we know how lucky we are to be home safe.

I hope you're curled up in front of the fireplace with a warm drink in your hand, Miz Elen. I suspect this is our fault for saying the ground was dry and gray.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Scraping the barrel

Good things - I'm employed, we have a roof over our head, food in our bellies, warm fuzzy creatures to share our hearts and home.

The rest of the crap is just that. We will either survive it or not.  One way or another it will pass.  I know I should be grateful - and I am - that there are solutions to most of our problems. We have each other. Occasionally that is as much part of the problem as it is the solution.

The snow is pretty.  Our furnace works.

Please excuse me while I hunt up a bottle of Irish Whiskey.  Cheers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


It snowed while Mom and I were out Christmas shopping. It was pretty. I had pre-shopped, knew where the best deals were, so we only had two stores to hit.  We got everything for Dad, then I bought Mom's presents from Dad, so we're done!!  We had a tea out to celebrate.

In other Good News, I finished the paranoid section of the horror story.  It needs to be edited and tidied up but it feels good to be moving on in the story. It's broken down into five sections. I don't know how Stephen King does it. I need some time off from the craziness. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Writing therapy

It turns out that all the worry, stress and melodrama we call life is fodder for a writer. I've been incredibly productive on that front and have plans to continue. I think I've come up with a creative way to show another character's point of view without switching perspective. It feels good to be back on a writing schedule. I didn't realize how much I missed it.


Families are the source of my gravest frustrations and deepest pride. They bring me to tears for a wide variety of reasons.  Right now, I'm more emotional than usual so a sink full of dirty dishes can trigger a meltdown, as will a stealth smile from DNe.

The Little girls hugged my knees while the oldest girl brushed my hair.  Some people separated themselves from the family unit, then made me cry harder when they snuck back in as if they'd never said such a thing. Dinner was interrupted for a Sparks meeting while dessert was delayed to pick up the oldest kid.

All the chaos and drama(she splashed me with WATER) induced several headaches. Then hugs (you won a PRIZE ) as if nothing had happened.

No one said sorry. No one acknowledged the harsh words or dented feelings. There was more than one elephant in the room but they were fed, their trunks petted and ears scratched. This is more than an analogy. We have elephant salt and pepper shakers that amuse my mom and the nieces no end.

Earlier in the day, I wanted to run away from home, disavow all knowledge of these people to whom I am related and hide out in mountain cabin writing away my angst.

The reality is I love these people. They scare me, they worry me, confuse and ignore me. Even when we're all in the same room, it's not a Hallmark card. We squabble, bicker and kibbutz. We're also fiercely loyal and protective of each other.

We're all feeling the same stress right now. It's taking its toll but listening to the laughter that was shared around the table, hearing manners being expressed and watching everyone try to hold each other up (literally on the part of the four year old) made me realize - and more importantly,  appreciate - that we're all in this together. As long as we stick together we have a stronger chance of surviving - and enjoying ourselves in the process.

A very good thing indeed.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Book therapy

Lack of quality sleep makes a world of difference in coping and attitude.  The neighbours had a party last night that involved the police and an hour long dispersement. I was actually laughing at one point as I considered the disturbance karma for my youth. 

I could list for my blessings and know the truth of them but it's been hard to juggle things and cope today.  Honestly, the zoo has been a godsend. Ky is so happy to see me when I get home from work. He ate my vitamins which was just ridiculous. Everything has to go into his belly. He's a goof. Yoda's been cheering for the hockey game and making me laugh.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm just a food source to the cats but hey, it's good to be needed.

One Good Thing about reading < ahref="http://textpublishing.com.au/books-and-authors/book/the-rosie-project/">The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
is hearing Sheldon Cooper's voice. I'm not far into the book but am enjoying it immensely. For someone who claims not to be a fan of first-person, I've enjoyed a lot of it recently.
If you're looking for a good Icelandic mystery translated to English, I recommend Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. I stumbled across it at work and have ordered the next. The rhythm of the language enchanted me, as did the descriptions of life in Iceland. The main character was easy to relate to which makes a big difference when reading a novel in a foreign setting. We're not that different when it comes right down to it.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Hockey night tonight

Another long day at work but we accomplished a fair bit and I helped a boy find books for his project about how pencils and crayons are made. No luck on the pen front.

I opted out of a night out to spend time with the family. It's important and I'm really feeling the need lately to spend as much time with my parents as possible.  It's a good thing I made that decision. My dad totally ignored my breakfast announcement of evening plans and went ahead on dinner with my attendance as part of the equation.  Oh well. It was steak out on the grill so no hardship for me. 

An exciting night of hockey with lots of parental interaction to round out the night. My phone was buzzing throughout the game as Stashaholic and I discussed the play.  My other game texting buddy was busy but Yoda cheered for her. I've never seen a parrot take such an interest in sports. He screams Wheeeee when our team scores and Eeeeek or What???? when the opposing team gets a goal.  I am greatly amused by him.

In other news, I have decided to make a pair of socks for my great-aunt for Christmas. She appreciated the last pair so much it seems mean not to knit some more for her. 

Friday, December 06, 2013


Today was a comedy of errors, starting with the fact that I went to work three hours early.  One ridiculous thing happened after another but we laughed about all of it.

I went for a tea and walk with my convalescing friend.  She isn't fully recovered from her surgery but every day is another one grateful for her friends and family.  We had some pretty deep talks about life, survival, identity and our purpose in life.  She works in health care. There are people alive today who wouldn't be if it weren't for her.  She is the type of person who takes care of others. I suggested she do the same for herself. Yep, the pot called the kettle black - we both laughed.

I haven't been able to settle to anything tonight, lots on my mind, but I am continually reminded that friends and family are invaluable in helping one survive anything life can think to throw at us. 

Last night I dreamt about friends I've lost in the last few years. There are times when I feel like I should do more with my life because they were denied the opportunities I face every day. 

Today, I feel like it's important I be still and listen.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Little things

It's funny to be so pleased with myself for accomplishing little things but life has been so hectic the last several months that the only things getting done were the big things that could not be ignored. 

I met, and surpassed, my minimal daily requirement for writing.  I'm two scenes away from being done this section and cannot wait to move on to the next.  The story gets creepier and more disturbing as it progresses so in some ways I can wait but you knew what I meant.

I made my own boots today. They're need those little touches that finish them off but here's a photo anyway. They are ridiculously comfortable and come to my knees. I wore them to work.

Shopped til I dropped

Oh, I am tired but we got a lot of wedding prep done today, did the bulk of the Christmas shopping, went to see Frozen (cute) and removed the silver from my hair.  I'm pleased with my spending. Nothing frivolous (I put the Die Hard dvds back) all necessary with only one small item off my list.

We laughed a lot. I forgot my phone at home and barely missed it.  We ate junk food, walked for miles and vowed to get in shape for the wedding.

I'm lying in bed staring out at the neighbour’s decorations. They're quite pretty.

It's been a full day. All is well in our world.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Oh Happy Day

It was so productive that I cannot believe how much I accomplished this day. House cleaned, computer tidied and files backed up to external hard drive, two older manuscripts found on floppy disks and uploaded to laptop and Playbook. I finished a tricky scene in the horror story and set up the next scene so I'm good to go for Thursday morning's writing spree with one of my writing partners.  We discussed a writer's retreat for the Spring.

I bought groceries, made muffins, watched the hockey game, looked at waaaaaaaaaaaay too many wedding photos in an attempt to help my friend pick a photographer. We spent the entire night laughing (not at the photos) and joked about needing to know next season's hockey schedule in order to pick the right date for the wedding. Honestly, if Boston and Toronto were playing, she'd had to say her vows during the commercial breaks.

We had a great night. Tomorrow, we'll start making some of the decorations, look at more wedding paraphanalia and laugh a lot. I'll let you know.

Who knew weddings were such a great source of amusement. My deepest wish is that the entire experience is wonderful for her.  They're a lovely couple

Monday, December 02, 2013

Pleased with myself

What a great writing day.  I was able to figure out most of what's been holding me back with this section. I had great interactions with two of my writing partners. We made plans for tomorrow. I want to get this section done this week so I can move on to the next - as well as spruce up an old manuscript to send out. It's doing no good in my drawer.

Tonight was the Christmas dinner for work. Not only was the food delicious but the company was delightful.  It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to talk with people.  There's always common ground somewhere. Most of our conversations revolved around travel.  My one coworker is headed to Costa Rica on Thursday.

Part of me laughed really hard watching >Canada's Worst Driver Ever but an equal part is horrified. One of the contestants lives in the Niagara Region.  She hits anything and everything in her path.  It's a very good thing we've never run into each other. I am a much better driver but the bar isn't very hard where she's concerned.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Mix and match

The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity.  Yesterday, DNi and I went to Ecofest in Welland where she learned all about sustainability. I consider myself fairly eco-conscious but discovered I am more so than I thought. I didn't learn anything new that I could apply to our living arrangements. I did have many wonderful discussions with DNi about how big a difference one person can make. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Once we were home and settled in for the night, we made winter boots out of crocs and sweaters we found at the goodwill.  I would have preferred to use materials we had at home but I rarely wear a sweater. Short sleeves with a wrap or shawl to warm me up when necessary.  We tore through my closet looking for a sweater to massacre, all to no avail. DNi is tickled with her new boots.  I'll get her to take a photo so I can share.

Work was busy today, hectic with a fair amount of problem-solving. There was a very serious complaint about a coworker. I think I was able to diffuse the situation and suggested a fair way to bring it up with the boss.  I truly think it was a case of two people having a rough time simultaneously and one hit a nerve so the other responded in kind. We're all human. Working with the public doesn't mean we're always able to push our own personal triggers aside.  We strive for it but are not always successful.

I've had a good couple of writing days. My critique/writing partners and I are back on a schedule.  I have a game plan for getting the work out into the public.  I've been talking to a friend who studied graphic design about a cover for Casey's story.  He's doing really well and it would be nice if his success could help another dog with its disability.  He was quite insistent yesterday that he needed to be wearing his brace.

The truth is I've been struggling with mood swings. I suspect that the lack of routine and schedule have contributed to improper sleep which results in increased pain in my leg. It's been kicking out a lot. So I get frustrated and irrational because I am in pain and exhausted.  Tonight is an early night and once I get back into the routine, the nerves should settle down.

Still, there were some fantastic moments over the last few days to balance out the ickiness.  I had a drink with a good friend last night. We laughed a lot. I had quality time with my DNi, something we've not managed for a few weeks. Watching her patient interaction with my friend's son lifted my heart.  I am blessed with those who share my blood. Family, not vampires. I don't share blood with vampires or zombies. That would not be fun ick.  I don't quite see the appeal.  But I digress.

I promised a report from the art show.  Look for it under Moniker Gallery. It deserved its own post.