The Magic of Canada

Bronwen's sign

If I had to write a book on the things I love or hate about Canada, the former would be a multi-volume set while the latter could be written on a very, very small Post-It Note. All of my previous trips to Canada – and I do mean all – have been wonderful. I first fell in love with Vancouver and surrounding areas when I lived in Seattle. The city is vibrant, the people are friendly, and the drive from Vancouver up to Shannon Falls is breathtaking.  I then fell in love with the other side of BC when Mike and I did a Nelson-Revelstoke-Banff/Canmore loop last year. This month, I had the honor to visit Ontario, where I went to meet my writing group – Bernice, Bronwen, and Patrice – in person for the first time! Squeeeee!!! First, I was first greeted at the Toronto airport by Bronwen and … Continue reading…

Unexpected Guests: A Story About Bears, a Rescue, and Never Giving Up Hope

Oreo, a.k.a. Trooper Rocky Cubby Luke Skywalker Vader Shadow

I’m not ready to talk about losing Moose, so I’ll tell you a story instead. It’s a two-parter. Part I – The Bear Family One recent Thursday, five days after Moose passed away, I was puttering around a house that felt a lot emptier than normal, missing my beautiful “Moo Bear.” Standing at the slider-door window, I was listening to Mike, who was in the kitchen talking about cars or something. Suddenly, he tensed up. Looking beyond me to the meadow outside, he asked, “What is that? It’s big and dark!” I turned to look and, sure enough, a large sow bear lumbered into the field. “A bear! Look!” Mike was instantly at the window beside me, binoculars in hand, like he’s The Flash or something. I ran for my camera. With the lens to my eye, I zoomed in. “And cubs!” I exclaimed. Two rambunctious cubs bounded along behind … Continue reading…

Ready for a Feast! Countdown to a Delicious Debut Novel

Cover of Crystal King's novel Feast of Sorrow.

It’s not often that I sing the praises of books in this blog; so many other sites do that wonderfully enough. However, this is a special occasion.  In just under thirty days, on April 25, a debut novel written by my wonderful friend, Crystal King, hits the shelves and some of us are ecstatic about it. Some of us just have to share! Feast of Sorrow is set in ancient Rome in the noble house of Marcus Gavius Apicius, a ridiculously wealthy man whose ambition to become Caesar’s culinary advisor is matched only by his appetite for indulgence. He flaunts his wealth by throwing lavish parties and capitalizes on the talents of his slaves to elevate his own status. Does it end well for him? Well, that would be giving it away. To say this is a “delicious novel” is not me being unbearably snooty. This novel centers around the … Continue reading…

Trying New Things: Putting the Shine Back on Winter

New bag and scarf modeled by me

  Most of us start the year ready to tackle goals and do new things. By March, though, some of that shine has begun to wear off and, if you’re like me, you start longing for something to freshen things up, to polish up the motivation a little. Trying new things staves off boredom and research supports that surprising and challenging your brain with new information and tasks can help fight dementia. It also helps to distract you from the long, gray days of winter (if it happens to be March and there is still a foot of snow outside your window). For all of these reasons, I have been in the mood to try more new things, some successful (and delicious) and others a work in progress. Here’s a little run-down of some of the new things I’ve been doing this month to put the shine back on my winter: 1. 5K Sundays.  January’s a … Continue reading…

It’s All Good (Even When It’s Rotten)

Moose in deep snow.

It’s February. The sun is out. Dressed in shorts and sandals, children are playing in the park under the watchful gaze of parents who sun themselves on chaise lounges or towels placed on the grass. Bicyclists ring their bells as they pass walkers on the trail. An ice cream vendor hawks his delicious confections nearby. This is how I imagine it anyway, this February so far away. It’s all about perspective, you see, for this might be the picture in Sydney, Australia, but here, in the northern hemisphere, we’re up to our eyeballs in snow and ice. Our landscape is two colors: blackish-green and white. So much white. We wake up in the morning dreading the commute to work, the new snow to plow, and the extra ten minutes it takes to suit up in fifteen layers to go outside. Ah, wouldn’t it be lovely to just slip on some … Continue reading…

Clean Floors for Dirty Paws: Tradeoffs in a Life With Dogs

Wipe Your Paws Floor Mat

I’ve heard it said that cleaning with dogs in your house is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. Indeed, it is an exercise in futility. I can prove it.  Below is a photo of my floor less than two hours after it received a good sweep, vacuum, and mop: Why, oh why, did we opt for the Brazilian Koa laminate instead of a splotchy dark brown carpet with a doggie footprint pattern? It seems that would’ve been the safer way to go. It would’ve been the way for people with OCFD (Obsessive Clean Floor Disorder) to go. If you haven’t heard of it (and I’m guessing you haven’t since I just made it up), OCFD is a genetic disorder passed down from mother to daughter. The chief symptom of this disorder is fretting about the state of your floors, especially when the sun shines on them just … Continue reading…

Wings

Moose on Christmas

This is my last post of 2014. By this time next week, it will be 2015 and most of us will be paying for our holiday indulgences in one way or another. Some of us will weigh a little more or have a slightly lighter bank account balance (or both!). Some of us will be more determined than ever to pay off debts, get organized, run a marathon, lose weight, or meet other milestones, and we’ll be dipping our toes into the deep pool of resolve that has sprung up around us since we last gave thought to our goals. If we stick with it, we’ll be diving deeper, much deeper, soon enough. Before we all tuck our chins and plunge into the new year, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Not everybody has this type of platform from which to ramble on at length, show … Continue reading…

All Smiles

Sometimes I get deep and meaningful with my posts and start spewing out stuff about metaphors, nature, and connections. This week, I’m just going to share a few pictures and some good news. First up, congratulations to my friend and fellow writer, Patrice, who this week became a permanent resident of Canada! She jumped through all the right hoops, slashed through mountains of red tape, and no doubt wrung her hands in frustration many a time on this journey from “just visiting” to “I’d like to live in the same country as my husband, please.” She is living proof that perseverance, a positive attitude, and a deep trust in good things happening are not just captions for motivational posters. A devout believer that positive attracts positive, she opened herself up to Life, met its challenges, and reaped its rewards, never losing faith that, no matter what happened, things would be … Continue reading…