Advent pot

She stuffed Hershey’s Kisses into the numbered pockets of the soft, felt advent calendar. The kiss tradition began back when Hershey had a factory in a nearby town called Smiths Falls. She felt virtuous supporting a local business and keeping its workers employed by sweetening the December mornings of their children with a sugar kiss. (Chocolate breath still reminds her of Christmas. ) That small factory closed a few years ago and the death knell rang its last gong. Then an entrepreneur purchased it to grow medical marijuana. Continue reading

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For the love of pineapple

“Leftovers in the dining room,” the email announces.

All 200 employees scurry down the stairs to the dining hall to scoop up remains of the catered lunch left behind by the visiting big wigs.

I pick through an enormous bowl of fruit salad and scoop lumps of pineapple, a couple of blackberries, a spoonful of blueberries, some raspberry mush into a container. I take every juicy chunk of pineapple and leave the tepid scalloped potatoes and cold ham with curling edges to those who seek comfort in stodge. I turn my back on the date squares and chocolate macaroons and return to my desk coddling a plastic container brimming with bright, wet fruit. Continue reading

“Oh, Bits!” by Josh Langston

Technically, this is a mystery novel and if it needs a category of mystery, I might slot it under the “cosy” column but it’s also a period-piece, set in Atlanta, GA during 2nd World War, a romance, and a fantasy all told with a shot of humour. If you keep a spreadsheet of books you’ve read this year with various columns to note your reading history, you might need a new column labeled “genre-bender” and perhaps that’s where Josh’s book belongs. Continue reading

Stop the epidemic!

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Curated leaves

It’s time to stop the curation epidemic. We, the Ministry of Overused Words (MOW), the Word Protection Collective (WPC) and the Respect for the Oxford English Dictionary (ROED) – now known as the Anti-Curation Coalition (ACC) – demand a cure for the word curated – a curative dose, for the overdose, the rendering comatose of a perfectly reasonable word. Continue reading

Worth the risk

All day, I sat in a windowless meeting room in the basement of a hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia and listened to very important people talk about very important things. Immediately before the meeting my bowels had erupted, protesting as they often do to the change in input when I travel. I also forgot my acid reflux meds at home in Ottawa. And so the day began.
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How to be less cranky when turning 60

  • Buy a coffin.
  • Put the coffin in your living room.
  • Fill the coffin with clothes that don’t fit, books you’ll never read, lists of people you don’t talk to anymore, every regret you’ve ever had, all your lost dreams. Add a picture of you at 28.
  • Stop plucking the hairs on your chin. For fun, see how long they’ll grow.
  • Stop gluing down the three hairs on your left eyebrow that poke out like past sins.
  • Burn your 36 DD bras. Fly free.
  • Stop buying self-help books. If you own any, add them to the coffin.
  • Do 10 squats a day so you can get up and down off the toilet when you’re 70.
  • Eat bread and pasta and potatoes and white sugar and milk chocolate if you want.
  • Walk outside, not on a treadmill. The treadmill is a symbol. So is being outside.
  • Give your better angels a voice and tell the bitter bitches who talk over everyone to fuck off. Better yet, throw the bitches in the coffin.
  • Obsess about now.
  • Practice listening to your dog, your cat, your budgie, your goldfish and then go listen to your best friend.
  • Talk to people the way you talk to your pet. Chances are if you say “Who’s a good friend?” they’ll beam with pleasure.
  • Look up at the sky and not your feet. The view is better.
  • Practice what you preach.