Thursday, December 31, 2020

And . . . that’s a wrap

I wrote a long end-of-year post on my other blog ( this morning. I didn’t plan to because I’ve been taking a break this week, but the lure of compiling a photo grid caught me first and before I knew it I was writing a full blown post. 

I’m glad I did. I create books with my blog posts every year (boy, the 2020 book will be a doozy) and it’ll be good way to wrap things up.

Today’s post is not my typical last post of the year. I’m not sharing my top ten reads or the word I’ve chosen to carry with me into 2021. All of that seems like it’s more effort than I have to expend at the moment. (Though I have chosen a word. Have you?)

This afternoon, on this last day of the year, I’m taking some quiet time while the dogs nap not to reflect or organize or plan or much of anything else. Just popping around reading some blogs, reading my book, and enjoying the peace of this day. 

If I wasn’t already settled with a Yorkie on my lap I’d brew a cup of tea to wash down all the chocolate Gerry and I ate while playing chess earlier. But I am, the trusty glass of water at my side will have to do.

Here’s to surviving 2020, my friends. It’s been a wild ride, hasn’t it? There’s a lot of unknown as we head into 2021 so it seems prudent to take it slow and ease into it. 

Once, many years ago, my doctor sent me to stress management classes. I’ve never forgotten something we learned on the very first day: the key to stress management is learning to relax so we can build our physical and emotional reserves to prepare us to meet the next challenge.

So take some time to relax today and throughout the year ahead. I suspect we can all use a top-up in our physical and emotional reserves. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas


And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Luke 2: 8-14

Monday, December 21, 2020


It's the first day of winter. I looked out the window this morning at the green and was going to take a photo because it looked nothing like winter. It looked like we were in for a green Christmas.

Fast forward a few hours and this is the view from my window now. It's winter all right.

We just got home and I can attest to the awfulness of the roads. It would have been a good day to stay home but I had commitments both this morning and this afternoon. 

Hunkering down now on this shortest day of the year and feeling somewhat optimistic. The days will start to grow ever-so-slightly longer tomorrow. After today, it's downhill toward gardening season!

Sunday, December 13, 2020


I’m reminded that we’re only a week away from the shortest day of the year. The thought sparks a touch of hope.

We walk in the park with the dogs and discover that someone has hung Christmas balls on some trees. They spark joy.

Meanwhile, in the den, I’ve had to put the non traditional tree up on a little table to stop Murphy from trying to chew on the cord and creating sparks of another sort.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Friday’s Fave Five - December 11, 2020

I got a text from my daughter last evening asking if we could connect for a chat this morning. I was confused until I realized it’s Friday today and her flex day off work. How on earth did Friday arrive so quickly in a week where nothing much happened? I don’t know.

Anyway, I’m looking back at five things from the blur that was this week.

A new Kobo. I’m an avid reader and have read mostly on my Kindle for years. My Kindle Paperwhite isn’t library friendly, and I spend an astounding amount of money buying books. I decided to start taking more advantage of our local library, and bought a Kobo so I can access library ebooks. Often, the books I want aren’t available at the library (or there’s a long wait time) but the Kobo is going to work well for fiction I can get lost in, which is what I’m looking for these days.

Grocery store shortbread. No, I don’t like them as much as the cookies I make using my mom’s recipe, but  this year they’re good enough. (And they’re still pretty tasty.)

Gentle lentil soup. This is one of my favourite soups. I made a batch this week and used a little too much garlic (if that’s possible). Opening the fridge was a pungent experience until it was all used up! (Here’s a link to the recipe.

My orchid is budding! I’ve had an orchid on my kitchen windowsill for a few years and it has re-bloomed only once. This week I noticed it’s budding again! 

Murphy went to the groomer. It was his first visit since we brought him home, and our groomer referred to him as a “spitfire” afterwards. He’s definitely not as mild mannered as Maya! She often takes photos of the pets she works with and managed to get a good one of our boy.

(My Five Minute Friday post is up on my other blog.)

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Afternoon Rest

On top of every other crazy thing this year, I have started having migraines. I was troubled with headaches a lot when I was younger but, other than the odd headache, they haven't been an issue in recent years. 

Enter 2020.

Seems like a good reason to take a break in the middle of the day, so the dogs and I are developing an early afternoon routine of sitting down after lunch to rest with a book (well, one of us has a book; the others just sleep.😀). 

Maybe the headaches are a blessing in disguise after all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

In Which We Hunker Down At Home

No, Christmas isn’t canceled. 

Word came down on Monday from our provincial health officer that current restrictions are in place at least until January 8. There are to be no gatherings of any size with people outside our immediate household in our homes. 

Regardless of circumstance or opinion, it’s still something of a blow. Who could have imagined it? But we needn’t imagine. It’s happened in the past, hasn’t it? Christmas hasn’t always been what it’s become, and I mean nothing by that except that it has looked different in different times. 

I’ve noticed how some folks are decorating more and others less. Me? I put our non traditional trees up set out some candles for Advent, and that’s it. I’m doing nothing else. 

I think it is hardest for families with children—especially single parents. Explaining why A is okay but B isn’t, and why they can see this person at this place but not at another place is mind-boggling for both parents and children. For single parents, who don’t have the luxury of tag-teaming with the other parent, it’s harder than hard. (Our daughter is in that position so I know this to be true.)

Around here, we’re hunkering down with the dogs. It’s started raining which makes walks less attractive, but we’ll take them when we can. We have books and a jigsaw puzzle and food and an online portal to the world “out there” (though, for our mental health it’s wise to set limits there). 

It’s dark, but we have light. It’s cold, but we have heat. It’s confusing, but we have peace (well, most of the time).

This has turned into a rambling post without a concrete point—discombobulated, like 2020. Kind of fitting, yes?

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

P.S. I posted a Wordless Wednesday photo on my other blog.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Photo Saturday

I finally carved out some time to play with my camera and capture a few images of the fast-fading flowers I bought a week or so ago. 

This morning, with the stove humming in the woman cave, Handel's Messiah playing on Spotify, Gerry at the gym, Maya upstairs napping in the den, and the pocket dog watching my every move from his crate, I set to work. 

I set my camera up on a tripod and arranged (and rearranged and rearranged again) the flowers, stuck a blossom or two into a little flower frog and put that atop a vase to lift it closer to my camera, and, as the light wasn't the best, pulled out a piece of white foam core to reflect the light there was where I wanted it. 

I'm rusty. It's been far too long since I played this way. But it was such fun exercising these particular creative muscles again. I took a few shots, downloaded them, worked some post-processing magic, and then popped the card back in my camera and took a few more shots. Again and again. Until Murphy let me know that his patience was wearing thin and it was time to do something else. 

By then Gerry was home, so we had a light lunch, played a couple of games of chess, then loaded up the dogs, and headed out for an afternoon walk. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Friday, December 4, 2020

What's Getting Me Through

I spent the morning busy in my woman cave. I'm combing through old blog posts to put together a little project for my granddaughter of things I wrote about her over the past twelve years. It was a pleasant trip down memory lane remembering those days—and a little melancholy at the same time. Children grow so fast.

Later, I worked on a schedule and project plan (shades of my corporate days—I love a well-documented plan!) for a couple of women's writing competitions I'm coordinating next year. There are tons of details to sort out and I always feel better when I have everything documented.

It was another beautiful sunny day, so after lunch, Gerry suggested we take the dogs for a walk. He didn't have to work hard to convince me, especially since there was a promise of coffee along the way.

The path we walked wasn't busy, but there were two instances when I picked up the pocket dog either because other dogs weren't restrained or they were allowed to get a little too close for comfort. It's bad enough when this happens with eight-pound Maya, but with a tiny three-pound dog? No way is this a good idea. (This is one of the reasons we have never taken our dogs to an off-leash dog park.)

At one point I looked up at the blue sky and thought to myself: "This is what's getting me through these days." 

Sunshine. Blue sky. Moderate temperature. These are such gifts in December. I know there's weather coming (Canadian winter weather), but to be able to go outside in relative comfort now seems a bonus. A bonus I sorely need this year.

But I realized, as I looked up and snapped this photo with my phone, that even if winter had already settled in and it was too cold to go outside, there would be other comforts helping me through these dark days not to mention a Comforter.

I can't control what comes (though I'd sorely like to sometimes) and the wisest course is to learn to bend with whatever comes and trust that I'm not walking alone through it. It's hard sometimes; I imagine it's that way for all of us. Realizations like this one help me see through the figurative fog of these days and lift some of the weight that, at times, seems more than I can carry.

(I posted my Friday's Fave Five list over on my other blog this morning.)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

A Pocket Dog

I've been wrestling with depression for months. I don't imagine I'm the only one. Part of caring for my mental health these days is keeping my eyes and ears open for delights. 

We took Murphy for a walk in the sunshine yesterday (Oh, the sunshine! It helps so much.). 

Our pace is slow because we're still working on training the pup to walk beside us. It's important because he's so tiny injury to him or one of us created by us tripping over him is entirely possible. 

Anyway, a couple walking hand-in-hand passed us by and the woman looked back and said: "That's a pocket dog! He could fit right in your pocket!"

And there it was. A spark of delight.

A pocket dog. What a fun idea!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


I’ve been taking photos of the view outside our bedroom window when something catches my attention. Yesterday it was the light. I shot this one around 4:00 yesterday afternoon. It doesn’t capture that it’s starting to get dark around that time—in fact, it seems to indicate that it’s still daylight outside.

The telltale glow from the door on the right is coming from the non-traditional tree in the living room. The living room window overlooks the deck that the door leads to. The bedroom is dark, and the exposure is such that it skews reality a bit.

I’m reminded of the truism that says perception becomes our reality. To a certain extent, it’s correct. But our perception can be skewed by exposure to certain things too. 

In this season I’m reminding myself of that, and being mindful of where I allow my thoughts to linger. It’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of less-than-productive thoughts. 

I bought an arrangement of flowers a few days ago intending to spend time photographing them with my macro lens. Either the light hasn’t been good or, when it has, I’ve been occupied with something else. The flowers sit waiting on the table in my woman cave. I hope I can spend time with them before they wilt. Perhaps today.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Seasonal Sunday

There’s no snow in our neighbourhood but we don’t have to drive far to find some. It’s a dark Sunday afternoon when we set out for a drive up in the hills nearby. In the distance, there’s sun. On an icy country road we head toward it.

Not far from where this photo was taken we find this.

Two seasons competing for attention. Both, have their charm.

Later, back home, I pull leftovers from the freezer—turkey, saved from Thanksgiving back in October—and we feast.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Another Beautiful Day

It turns out to be a beautiful, beautiful day so we take the dogs for a walk in the afternoon after lunch. We're heading toward December with a stellar forecast. Could we be destined for a green Christmas? It's too soon to tell but I wouldn't mind if we were.

It seems that once we hit January we can exhale as we edge ever closer toward spring. Sure, January is often the worst month for snow and cold but there's still something about turning the calendar page that makes it seem like we'll make it through winter after all. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself . . . and this year is like none other in my lifetime. Best to stay in the present moment as much as possible. 😉


Friday, November 27, 2020



This photo of my Thanksgiving cactus was taken a couple of weeks ago. I really need to re-pot it as the small pot it's in keeps tipping over from the weight of it. Once I find another white pot, I will. It's finished blooming now, and there's a little poinsettia on the table in its place. 

(I just learned last year that there's such a thing as an Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas cactus. Did you know that? I love that there's always something new to learn.)

The U.S. Thanksgiving holiday yesterday prompted Gerry and me to talk about our upcoming Christmas dinner. Our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner last month was low-key and simple and I'm of the mind to go easy at Christmas too. The days of BIG and BUSY are in the past. I'm happy to embrace simplicity.

Speaking of simple, I posted my Friday's Fave Five list on my other blog this week. Here's a link.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Another Slow Day

We're under new restrictions this week so Gerry and I are spending most of our time at home but making a point to get out for a short while every afternoon to give me a break from Murphy and to give Murphy an opportunity to get comfortable staying home by himself (with Maya, but they're not together when we're not home). It's become a nice break in the middle of the day.

Today, we had to drop off a little dog coat I had bought for Murphy that turned out to be too big (surprise, surprise). I offered it for sale on Marketplace and another small dog owner bought it. I didn't mind delivering it as we were coming into town anyway.

Gerry took advantage of the nice day to take our car through the car wash. He prefers a DIY wash so, while I stayed warm and snapped photos like a lady of leisure, he washed the car. After we got home, he drove our second car down the hill and washed it too. What a guy! 

I mentioned the jacket for Murphy that was too small. I'm thinking of trying my hand at knitting a little sweater for him. We'll see. Finding something small enough to fit him is a challenge so it might be the best route. There were so many more options when we lived in WA and I still have a couple of things that would fit him from when we had, Chelsea, but they're mostly pink and I just can't do that to him. 

This morning I was thinking about a photo I took in 2007, the first year we had Chelsea. I still have the little outfit she wore but Murphy says he's definitely not interested in putting it on. We're discussing it. 😁 

He's also made it perfectly clear he's absolutely NOT going to dress up in a matching outfit with Maya (like the girls did a number of years ago). I'll grant him that one.

Oh, dear. I just realized I might be becoming one of those dog people. You know what? I'm okay with it. Especially now when we could all use a little diversion from you know what.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for those of you in the US so I'm sending warm greetings from our home to yours. While your day may be different than expected I trust it will be special nonetheless. 🦃

Monday, November 23, 2020

A Dog Keeps You Young

(Photo taken before we got Murphy his own BLUE harness and leash.)

In a couple of days, we will have had Murphy for one month. To say this tiny three pound ten-month-old dog has turned our lives upside down is an understatement. He has. In a very good way.

Truth is, though, that bringing this pup into our lives has reminded me of what it was like forty years ago when I had babies. Except I was younger then, with more energy, and perhaps not quite as set in my ways as I am at age sixty-one.

We've been blessed that Murphy has slept quietly through the night in his crate beside our bed from the day we brought him home. A string of sleepless nights was my biggest concern once we decided to go ahead with getting him. Thank goodness that wasn't the case!

Murphy and I have been figuratively joined at the hip pretty much 24 x 7. All good, but that's another thing I'm remembering about what it was like to have babies—a distinct lack of time to call my own. It's all good though and, as I remind myself, temporary.

This afternoon Gerry and I went out (sans both dogs) and grabbed burgers, fries, and root beer and went to the park to eat. It's chilly, so we stayed in the car, but it was such a nice break in the middle of the day. I felt like a teenager as we sat in the car chatting and eating our lunch! 

So yes, having a puppy does keep one young. Tired. But young. 


Sunday, November 22, 2020

'Tis the Season

The non-traditional trees are up—one in the living room, one in the den, and the other downstairs. 

Our daughter called yesterday, just after Gerry dragged the boxes upstairs, to wish him a happy birthday. They chatted and when they were finished I told him to tell her I'd call her back in five or ten minutes to chat (our mother-daughter conversations tend to run long!) after all the trees were up. Sure enough, ten minutes later all the trees were up and lit and that's the extent of seasonal decorating that will happen around here. I'm all about simple and low key.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, was Gerry's birthday and we enjoyed the conversation with kids and grands who called with greetings. He had expected to be on a hike but the club suspended activities given new provincial restrictions that just came into effect, so we took a long drive through an area we hadn't been to before. Once, we would have taken our cameras with stopped to capture some images but with the pup it just seems like too much work. We'll return to that practice in time.

I snapped a few pictures with my camera of the birthday boy and our dogs. Had to chuckle at this one with the dogs sticking their tongues out!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s been a very strange week in which almost every day felt like Friday. I’ve no idea why. Here are some highlights for Friday’s Fave Five.

Sunshine! The weather has such a strong effect on my mood sometimes. We’ve enjoyed an abundance of clear blue skies, warm temperature, and SUNSHINE this week. 

Coffee with a kindred. Coffee (or tea) and conversation with someone who “gets” you, and even shares some things that others might not understand, is perfectly priceless.

A pedicure. This is the #1 way I choose to pamper myself. Sharing it with a friend makes it all the more special. (Finding a great new colour is a bonus!)

Routine. Life with the new pup is settling into a regular routine. We’re all the better for it.

A new Netflix series. We just finished watching the all 21 seasons of Midsomer Murders. It’s been our pandemic program for many months. I stumbled across The Queen’s Gambit last night. The storyline has many layers—plus there’s chess. There are only seven episodes so, unfortunately, it won’t last long. Oh, and there’s also a new season of The Crown available.

So that’s it. Simple things, but good things, and now it really is Friday. I have no commitments away from home. I think I’ll put up the non-traditional trees.

(One of the good things about having two blogs, is being able to participate in both Friday’s Fave Five AND Five Minute Friday. Here’s a link to the FMF post on my other blog.)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

If this is November . . .

 . . . I'll take it.

It was so nice today that, after our daily two games of chess (both of which I lost), we used the excuse of wanting to buy more Mandarin oranges to go for a drive. 

Gerry waited in the car with Murphy while I ran into the store. I shouldn't have grabbed a cart on the way in because once I had it I, had to use it. Turned out we needed a few things in addition to oranges. 

I transferred the groceries from the cart to the back seat of the car under the watchful eyes of my husband and little Yorkie and when I got to the oranges: "That's a $70 box of oranges." Happens that way all the time.

We detoured through the park, car window down, on the way home just because it was so beautiful outside. I hope it stays like this for a few more weeks.

The temperature gauge in the car said it was 46 degrees Fahrenheit, which means nothing to me anymore (a quick query to my friend Google tells me that equates to 8 degrees Celsius) but it felt much warmer than that. 

It's the strangest thing with our car: every now and then, randomly, it switches between imperial and metric temperature. It seems to have no trouble being bilingual with respect to showing us the temperature. Not so with me.

When we moved from Canada to Washington state in 2007, I adjusted quickly to the temperature being reported as Fahrenheit. It didn't take long until Celsius didn't compute in my brain. It was the same in reverse when we returned to Canada in 2014. 

These days I'm back to thinking of the outside temperature in metric—but that's pretty much it. Distance and weight and the temperature of my oven and my body are all imperial in my mind. 

I was sixteen when Canada went metric and, obviously, never completely made the switch. I think it's that way for many, if not most, of us of a certain age.

Anyway, however you interpret it, the temperature outside today was stellar. May we have many more days like this!

What's it like where you live?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


It is unseasonably warm for mid-November this week. I know what’s coming so I’m delighted to have a late season opportunity to be outside. (Because realistically, despite my best intentions, once it turns cold I’m staying indoors.)

A walk in the park, leftover homemade chicken soup for supper (Yay! No cooking!), curling up to watch the first two episodes of the new season of The Crown on Netflix, and it turned out to be a good day.

I’m thinking of putting up my non-traditional Christmas trees and ushering in the season of peace a bit early. Goodness knows, we can all use an extra measure of comfort right now. 

It seems odd, what with what’s happening outside, but we did Christmas trees without snow for years when we lived in WA so it’s kind of a throwback. Maybe the lights and the trees will help me climb out of this funk I’m in.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Dog Days

Maya has never in her twelve years curled up with another pup (not even with the perfect dog, Chelsea, who, heartbreakingly, left us seven years ago).

Murphy just pushes his happy self in, not even giving it a second thought. Maya allows it, then gets up and jumps up on the sofa.

"First my rabbit, now my bed," I hear her mutter under her breath as she curls up.

Something outside the window catches her attention and she jumps down and goes to the window to bark at the neighbour out shoveling show.

Three-pound Murphy isn't big enough to see out over the top of the windowsill.

Maya chuckles.

"Now who has the last laugh."

Monday, November 16, 2020

I Don't Understand

I had to go to the hospital this morning for a procedure (Nothing serious. Just a follow-up.). I've been there once before since the world changed in March but it was obviously different today. Masks are mandatory, of course, and there was no problem at all finding parking in the parkade which is normally full. No one is allowed to accompany patients to the imaging area so waiting rooms are mostly empty and signage indicates appropriate social distancing.

I arrived early and spent a pleasant half-hour or so immersed in a new book on my Kindle while I waited. Not an altogether unpleasant way to pass the time. Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay. I can already tell I'm going to enjoy this one.

The young woman who performed the procedure was new and accompanied by a senior person. It was interesting to listen to them talk back and forth about things I have absolutely no knowledge of and I couldn't help reflect upon the fact that once, not so very long ago, I engaged in technical work-related conversation that would have sounded like a foreign language to casual listeners too.

It highlighted for me, again, that I'm in a different season of life—one rich with new things but also of letting go. I don't suppose you can have one without the other. 

Once in a while, I dream about being at work and remember the feeling of competency I had in my career. These days I feel tossed to and fro like there's far more that I don't know than I do. Perhaps we all feel like that to some extent in these times.

Today, I'd just be happy if I could understand what my little puppy, Murphy, is thinking and why he's being so stubborn about getting in the game with potty training. Three cheers for belly bands.

P.S. It appears there are some glitches in Blogger functionality which is preventing me from tidying things up around here the way I want them to be. Sigh. All in good time. All in good time.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Bright Sunshiny Day

It's been a beautiful day here! A clear blue sky, sunshine, and snow melting so quickly we could hear it run through the eaves troughs. Not bad for mid-November at all.

We attended virtual church this morning (who'da ever thunk that this would be the norm) and took the pups for a walk in the sunshine this afternoon.

In between, I made a pot of chicken soup and Gerry dug out the Christmas lights. I had to laugh when he came up from downstairs wrapped in lights so they wouldn't tangle again and asked me to open the front door for him because his hands were full. 

It's little moments like this when we share a laugh that makes life rich. I need to pay more attention so I don't miss them. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Everything old is new again

Once upon a time, way back in 2008, I started a blog. It was called My Own Velvet Room after a favourite childhood book. It became a place where I hung out, made new friends, and wrote random things about the life I was living. It was simple. I loved it.

Then I created another (A Grandma's Garden) and yet another (Arms of Adoption).

In time, I set up a website because I had dreams of writing a book and "everyone" said a writer had to have a website. The website remained relatively static, but I did write that book. And another one, too.

I posted to the adoption blog when adoption-related things crossed my desk or my mind, and I updated the gardening blog throughout a couple of seasons.

It all got overwhelming so I combined them all into one and called it A Slice of LifeI've been there ever since. The blog has grown and changed and I'm there early most mornings contemplating thin places where faith intersects life. I love the friends I've made through it and I love the practice of writing and posting there.

Despite rumours to the contrary blogging, for me, never died. Social media has done its best to draw our attention away from blogs to their platforms and, to some extent, it's been successful.

But, you know, I miss the old days of blogging.

I miss the long-form newsy updates (as opposed to short-form social media posts), and the homey comfy feel of visiting other blogs. So I looked back at my link list, racked my mind for the names of old favourites, and tried to stop by some places I used to be a regular at. I found so many blogs that either hadn't been updated for years or no longer existed.

And it made me sad.

And now I'm here. 

I thought I might create a good old fashioned blogger blog again so I logged on and—low and behold—there was a list of blogs I used to follow. Hurray! But again, when I visited I found most of them were no longer active.

I feel like I'm starting from scratch here, but so be it. I'm going to give it a go here on blogger again. Low key. Light-hearted. Just ordinary, everyday stuff. The stuff that makes a life.

Here we go . . .

P.S. If you're reading this, please do a girl a favour and leave a comment!

P.P.S. Please be patient while I figure out the platform here again!

P.P.P.S. You’re welcome to join me on my morning blog too!