Monday, January 3, 2022

New Year's Stream of Consciousness

It’s the kind of day on which great songs are written. The windows frame an inspiring scene –tall pines dusted in lace, a backdrop of for heavy white snowflakes that float leisurely without purpose. 

 Snippets of prose land momentarily and then disappear just as quickly, avoiding capture. So many thoughts, ideas, positions vying for attention, a place on the page. But the chaos only paralyzes, and I choose to let the forces that be make the final cut. 

It’s January second and as per usual, I have procrastinated, not in reflecting on the year past and my current state of being, but rather, in giving them form. Can there be such a thing as too much inspiration? I suspect that my long absence from writing has created a bottleneck, better known as writer’s block. 

Deconstructing Christmas 

The dog sits impatiently at my feet in the hopes that I will tug at his toy or at least show some interest in play. The banging coming from my upstairs living room has me wondering if hubby is chopping down our tree rather than removing it. Grunts and groans and refusals of assistance are muffled by the soft strains of John Denver. We have successfully deconstructed the adornments of Christmas and the house is returned to casual attire. 

 I sit in front of a fireplace that will be crackling by mid-afternoon. I gaze out at the symphony of peace and dreamlike tranquility that only nature can deliver. I breath it in, struggling to stay present, still, after more than six years of this ethereal beauty, I can barely believe this is my reality. I wonder how many more sleeps, famjams and fires we will enjoy here. 

 String of Pearls

I have lived a life in which all my dreams have come true. I have enjoyed all of the wonderful experiences that my mind’s eye and imagination could conjure. For years we balanced a seaside condo with the blazing sunset framed perfectly by our front window, sharing this wonder with friends and family, providing tropical vacations where there may not have otherwise been. We released that dream to fulfill another – a large boat that could hold our entire family. The boat was our sanctuary, serving as our floating place of peace. Falling asleep to rhythmic lapping of waves on the stern and the creaking of rubbing lines on the dock and awaking to the song of seagulls and the gently tolling of sailboat bells was our respite from our frenetic city lives. Over the years, the boat gave way for a humble lakeside cabin. Again, my version of paradise shifted and we spent six summers perched high in the trees, gazing at the magnificent vista and swimming in fresh clean water. When it was time to try our hand at country living, we let go of our cabin to create a natural swimming pond on five acres of history. 

There was a time in which I thought each of these fulfilled dreams would be accumulated like a lifetime string of pearls but my mother was right – we can have it all, but maybe not all at the same time. I’ve had to release and let go to make space for the next. Dream it. Live it. Release. Repeat. And so it is the memories of these experiences that are my pearls that create my lifetime monument and not the material accumulates. 

 And I thought I didn’t have anything to write about.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2021



You burst forward without warning nor pageantry, oh favourite bloom of mine. 

Your stay is brief but magnificent all the same, filling the air with your heavy sweet perfume, and teaching us to savour what is before us, and not to come. 

Your life however fleeting fills my heart to overflowing, and makes me happy, oh favourite bloom of mine.

Thursday, March 18, 2021


Today the writing prompt was ten minutes on "how am I invisible". This should be good. Anyone who sees me takes my loquaciousness as a sign that I am an extrovert -- talkative and friendly with people. Anyone who really knows me that I am in introverted extrovert with skills. I get high anxiety walking into a room of people I don't know, especially if I am alone. Public speaking  - presenting? I quit jobs over that. I am content to sit back and observe rather than force engagement. I sit in the front row at conferences and meetings. My dad taught me that. I don't even let myself think about it, or choose. I simply walk to the very front of the room and sit alone (usually) in the front row. No escape route. Eyes focused frontwards, exuding false confidence. I have skills. But I digress. Here is my ten minute response to the prompt.

They laugh at one another’s stories and musings, building on them as they take on awkward and hilarious structures. I try to interject but they are lost in their frivolity and energy, completing one another’s thoughts and sentences and are oblivious of my attempts to join in.

There is so much life and happy chaos swirling around me and yet I feel alone in a quiet cone. Invisible really. They no longer need me as they did, certainly not as a source of entertainment or information. They are standalone, self sufficient women in their own rights, confidence cemented in their sisterhood. They have one another. They form a triangle of loyalty and love and each could not be more different. They challenge and criticize one another – and when I am fortunate enough – they do me as well. They debate in heated tones. Their convictions and passions spilling over the kitchen table onto innocent bystanders. 

They are warriors as am I. They have reserves to care for not only their own but their communities. They are equipped to face the unexpected, the dreaded and the pain that awaits. And they possess a vibrancy for art, learning, family and life.

I am quietly proud as the observer of their relationship. It is after all a triangle, not a square. 

Heavy sigh from daughter on the other end. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

I'm Not Thinking Of...

We lost an hour this weekend for Daylight Savings Time and the first day living it is always a bit rough. I sat at my computer wondering if Daughter would make it. I need not have worried. My cell rang just as I settled myself  and arranged my coffee cup in front of the computer. We kept the pleasantries to the minimum, and got right to the prompt. Ten minutes to write about "I'm not thinking about".

 I’m not thinking of the windows that need to be painted that stare back, guilting me about the fact they are half finished. Like an old man with white wispy hair, the tops are a shiny crowning glory and the bottoms are rustic wood. “I’ll get to you” I promise, but right now, I am not thinking about that.

I am not thinking about the day ahead. My head is already too full. It is early and I am still untangling my many dreams, remembering, analysing and trying desperately to piece the fragments together. I am unsettled until I do so. They were important - that I know. Technicolour dreams filled with people I do not know in homes and locations that are new to me. What does it all mean?

I focus on the coffee slowly dripping out, as I try to stay focused. My thoughts start to drift too far ahead of the moment and I tell myself, there is lots of time for that. But for now – I am not thinking of that. Only of the coffee cup in front of me, the aroma wafting through the kitchen, and the dog barking incessantly at the patio door. 

I am not thinking too much at all.  

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A Year to File Under "Made It"


It's been a year. One like no other. A year of epic proportions navigating a global pandemic. 

We sent our staff home and I collected my essentials, preparing for what I expected to be a few weeks working from home. Who knew it would morph into a year parked in front of my laptop watching the seasons come and go from my kitchen window. 

It was life changing on all fronts. And while many boasted their creative endeavors on social media, I wrote nothing. In a time that will be one for the history books; one that was brimming with firsts and new experiences and testing my mental and physical stamina; I had nothing. I couldn't write a word about it, nor did I have any desire to do so.

And a quick scan of my hefty collection of journals confirms it. When life is tough, I don't write about it. My journals are flush with three year gaps. Divorces. Sickness. Deaths. Stress. I lived all of it but I didn't record it. Maybe it is because my mother taught us that thoughts materialize; that the power of positive thinking works just as strongly the other way. Think it and so it shall be. Expect the worst and you will surely get it. She helped wire me to expect the best possible outcome. It's a reflex. I have a medical test and I expect things to be just fine. If they aren't, I am truly surprised. 

For many, writing about their woes is therapeutic and cathartic. No so for me. Writing gives "it" form. It gives those times a permanent home that I really don't feel the need to revisit. That doesn't mean I deny them or rewrite history. I proudly own each and every choice in my life - positive and otherwise. They have brought me to this very moment.  Teaching. Shaping. Empowering. Me. The journey of my evolution.

During the pandemic I turned 60, became a grandma for the second time, resurrected some relationships after a 20 year hiatus, missed celebrating milestone birthdays, mourning losses and cancelled famjams. My hunger and appreciation for my family and loved ones has deepened. I miss them.

It's been a year and over time, I won't remember the details and every complaint, and worry. I will however always remember the love and longing I felt. Just like the books on my shelf that I can't remember the name of a single character or plot, but I remember how I felt about the read. 

This past year gave us space to learn how creative and resilient we are; how kind, supportive and caring we can be; and what community looks like. 

It was a year like no other. And we made it, a luxury denied millions.

Friday, March 12, 2021

I Am Thinking Of

Today's 10 minute writing prompt: I am thinking of...

I am thinking of so many things at this exact moment in time. The arrival of spring is upon up us – or so she would have us think. For the first time this morning I heard the squirrels having a turf war with the crows. Dogs barked incessantly in the background and a flock of geese flew noisily overhead. The ground was spongy, and snow covered most of the ground. I stepped in dog poop that was disguised as earth. That’ll be a pick-up job for another day. 

I marveled and how quickly the seasons change. They lure us in with promise of warmer weather and springtime just long enough to hammer us with a final dose of winter. Our taxes are due in a week. Springtime surprise, I thought as I see the recycle bin roll by. 

My to do list is infinite, even in this pandemic. How is that possible? I have to see my dad soon. It’s been too long. And my grandkids are probably not going to know me. I am feeling busy and tired but in a strange way satisfied. Daily writing has been a blessing. A reminder that there is something in every day of living worth writing about. It is easy to forget that. My pile of half read books beckon – don’t forget about us. And my puppy whines at my feet, also asking me to not forget about him. Just to make sure I don't, he snatches my rubber book and makes off across the kitchen. 

Fridays seem to be that day when we finally allow ourselves to let down, and let it all hit us. My mind overflows with memories, reminders, faces, ideas – genius ones at that – wishes and dreams. I am thinking that maybe I need to take a break from thinking for a bit. I wander down the hallowed pathways of my memories, excavating, those that I have left undisturbed for so many years. I do this when I am thinking about my mother. It always comes back to her. I miss her. But if I let myself, I can conjure up the warmth of her neck, her kind voice and her loving embrace.

And how is your Friday?

Thursday, March 11, 2021


The dog was whining but the coffee was made and daughter was on the phone to deliver the day's writing prompt. Our puppy senses that this time spent with daughter writing is precious, more precious than playing fetch or wrangling his chew toy in a game of tug of war. He demands to be heard and it lands him in his crate, if only for ten minutes. And then, poised, ready and waiting over my keyboard, she tells me the prompt -- numbers. My fingers hit the keys, bringing form to threads, notions and incomplete thoughts, resurrecting memories filed in the farthest corners of my archive. Here we go.

Numbers. Measuring, quantifying, assigning value. They can be simple as an age or as complicated as a variable mortgage. 

Numbers were my friend, and then they weren’t. In grade school I shone brightly with sums and multiplications but we started to part ways with the introduction of long division.

And then there was algebra – a mix of x’s and y’s and unknowns. Mrs. Gurney passed me with 51% to ensure I would not be a repeat customer.

And years later, I became a sales manager with commission and reward tied to goals – numbers! Calculating, estimating and ultimately putting a dollar sign in front of those numbers and suddenly they all made sense. 

I don’t have a favourite number. But apparently the devil does. I lived at 666 Moffat Street and I enjoyed the attention that it got whenever I cited my address. The devil’s house! 

I remember the anticipation of turning ten – double digits – as if somehow it heralded to the world that I was no longer a skinny little kid. The extra candles didn’t change that. 

And now I no longer race towards the next age, the next marker of time lived. Those numbers are not my friend but we have come to an understanding. The age I am at this very moment is my favourite – my favourite number. Because it is the only thing of which I am certain. I am. Now. 

And there is no number to quantity my gratitude, for it is infinite.