The Magic Stash

I closed my eyes and unzipped the container holding my stash and inhaled deeply. Nothing. Well, not quite. A vague aroma of sheep and dust lifted into the air, though it wasn’t the scent I wanted. But I plunged into the Ikea-container stash anyway and found a hank of chunky yarn that would satisfy my sudden craving to knit. I cast on 80 stitches for a toque and let the familiar activity release me from the present.

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Good Boy

Alfie used to be my personal trainer. While I was unemployed from January 2009 to May 2010, he nudged me out the door twice a day and gave structure to my shapeless life as an unemployed person. I squeezed the job search and resume tailoring between our walks and I arranged interviews so as not to conflict with our regimen. Continue reading

Time to Change

Meech_Lake_Boathouse

November 1, 2020, 6:00 a.m. and I’m  in our small kitchen frozen in time in a room stuck in the mid-1980’s with its oak cabinets and brass hinges, limited counter space, drawers that stick, tile backsplash that might be kindly termed retro if it weren’t for the greyed grout that shouts “old”. Three clocks glow different digital shades of lime green, turquoise, and amber. The wall clock ticks – another 1980’s relic. It’s my favourite. I loved the ‘80’s. Continue reading

Hope

 

Spring 2020

After almost thirty years puttering in our small townhouse patch attempting to grow all manner of inappropriate things for the sun and soil conditions, I recognize that to be a gardener is to cultivate hope. And in the summer of 2020 more than anything, I needed a sanctuary of hope, someplace to sit and think or more likely, not think, and just breathe and be. Astonishingly, in the tire fire that has been 2020, an Asiatic lily bloomed after 10 years of nothing. All I did this year was move the plant one foot where it got just a bit more sun, enough to coax four flowers.

This fall I’ve had two acceptances for pieces of my writing. That gives me hope, too. The difference? Time. I retired on April 1 this year and I’ve had time to write, edit, research potential homes for my writing, and submit. I moved into the sun. 

Fittingly, my first published poem is about hope. You can find it in Bywords, an on-line magazine published in Ottawa, Canada.  “Bywords mission is to publish the poetry of current and former Ottawa residents, students and workers and to promote Ottawa’s literary, spoken word, storytelling and nonfiction activities.” Works are chosen by a panel of readers with poetry, academic and publishing credentials and to those folks I say thank you. I am tickled beyond belief that my first published poem appears in Ottawa’s own Bywords.

 

 

Self-help Manual for a Nation

True to its title, Julie Ethan’s book, How Can Half the Country Be So Stupid? A Memoir and Guide to Friendship Between Political Opposites reads like a conversation between friends. Her guiding principle is “Relationships over politics,” so if you’re worried that the book is an attempt to change your political team, rest easy. As Julie points out, “Researchers have proven that facts don’t change our minds, that we won’t let go of our beliefs even when presented with contrary evidence.” Continue reading

Count On It

Long Sault Parkway, Long Sault, Ontario

I counted the number of islands we covered in our ride on the Long Sault Parkway because the wind, which I didn’t count on pushing against me so vigorously, whispered “Quit. Sit.”

“You shit,” I said. This is my BIG day. My longest ride of the summer – 28 kilometres. So, no. I’m not quitting.” Continue reading

Post-modern Swing Time

ShadowMe

The shadow of my former blogging self. 

1.  Downward dog
I feed the dog a twice daily dose of pain killer wrapped in cream cheese – the cutest cheeseball you ever saw – for his luxating patella. When he hears me uncapping the lid of the pill bottle he trots into the kitchen. Do we know how many addicted dogs there are? Do we care? Soon I’ll be taking him to a safe injection site.

What would happen if I took one of his pills? Continue reading

Window Gophers

turned off laptop computer with near wall

Dillon Shook-Unsplash

There’s not much to see outside the window where my desk sits: a big swath of sky, a maple tree, the row of townhouses across our narrow condo street, a shaggy pine that was once a shrub but now obscures the neighbour’s front door, the shadows of people in their kitchen windows.

Our street is a dead-end and holds only 14 units: there is no through traffic. Every car that motors up the hill and turns into our laneway is scrutinized thoroughly by me and any neighbours who happen to be in their kitchens. Like gophers, our heads pop up as we follow the progress of the vehicle. Funny thing is there is more traffic now on our tiny street than before. A daily parade of UPS, FedEx, and Purolater trucks, the unmarked vehicles delivering Amazon packages, and of course Skip-the-Dishes and Uber Eats drivers meander into our neighbourhood.

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Shoes for Life

In New Orleans I bought purple suede shoes peppered with silver studs across the toes and, not surprisingly, in Nashville, I purchased blue suede pumps. I slid my feet, Cinderella-like, into their cushioned blue interiors, stood, took a few steps and twirled, the full skirt of my dress flaring. The clerk stared, only mildly startled and asked me “Are you an attorney?” Nashville lawyers, I thought, must be more colourful than the pin-striped, double-breasted esquires in Ottawa. In Dolly Parton’s home state, I pictured lawyers sashaying to the bench in untouchable blue suede shoes with matching satin pocket hankies. A spin at the bench seemed plausible. Continue reading