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.