Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Joy of form and order....

After a week of chaos, I now have a new dining room ceiling. It's been painted, as have the walls to the wainscotting. The furniture is back in place and every inch of the room has been scrubbed clean. I also decluttered as I went so I now have a box of odds and ends for Goodwill. Say not that the struggle naught availeth - I know, I have said this before!!

Peace and order have been restored to the first floor anyway. This coming week, I will have a bedroom upstairs painted and thoroughly cleaned, as well. I'm waiting for a warm day to take the plants out one by one to wash the dust their leaves, and to give them a good "grooming." Joy is in having a clean, organized house.

Spring will be here before we know it and I will be in the garden most of the time. As a result, the house will get a once over now and then, so it's good to start with "really clean," - before the downhill slide!

On the flip side, my "un-joy" this week has been researching new heating systems for the house. I have to replace my 30-odd year old furnace - actually I should be calling it a boiler. I have been corrected many times. The question that vascillates constantly in my mind is, "What system should I put in?" Do I put in heat pumps for a $5,000.00 rebate from the government. Doing the math that would be $12,000.00 - $5,000.00 = $7,000.00 and freeze, if I close my bedroom door or do I put in a new gas system that removes most of the cumbersome mechanicals downstairs for $12,000.00 without a rebate, but with the same dependable radiator heating that I have been use to for almost 50 years. Yes, I could just replace the existing boiler for a mere $7,000.00, again no rebate. I'll have to ask a few more people for help on this one.

With the return of form and order to the main floor rooms, I have begun the finishing of my daughter's quilt, splurged on pasta with clams for Friday night's dinner, tested my frozen ice cubes of pesto from the Fall - they worked and had long philosophical discussions with the cat. It turns out he was very upset with the chaos and resolved it by peeing on my daughter's bed. "I pee therefore I am."

My Joy this week has been the return of "ordinary" - nothing special, just same old, same old, but in a cleaner more refreshed way.

The pictures? The Joy of food - real or imagined.

Have a Joyful week!!

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Joy of Chaos!!

 I'm in chaos right now - 

1. The dinning room is in the living room.

2. My bedroom is covered in drop sheets.

3. The spare room is full of bedding etc. from the other rooms. OK, I could ask the cat to move over, but his bed is a bit small.

I had not envisioned the disruption a replacement ceiling would be - OK, I did, but I was in denial. I think I'll get the painters in as quickly as possible.

My Joy is in the diversions one has to create, to ease the chaos. Enter Firefox!

I usually use Safari - it's a MAC "thing." However, my computer is old - 10 years or so and the upgrades only go so far. I don't think I can upgrade my MAC's operating system any further. Safari may have become obsolete - at the moment anyway.

As a result, I've switched to Firefox and so far, so good, as I still have my portal to the world of "Make Believe." Because, when chaos calls, I look for an escape. 

Tea at Heathrow - so civilized
My escape, this time, is in planning a holiday for 2024. Here is exhibit A.

1. Fly to London, on my own. Well I did it 50 odd years ago and never regretted it. I would have a main focus - to see at least two productions at the Globe Theatre in London. From there I could take the train to Edinburgh and visit my sister-in-law.

I would then have to decide whether to travel to Cornwall to meet my old flatmate and/or to take the train to Paris. Planning might just be the best part of a holiday!! However, I am also hoping that with the execution (of the holiday, that is) that I will be able to meet some interesting people. (I plan to stay in hostels geared to seniors - or those at least close,) and do some out of the ordinary things ______. I will fill in the blanks later!!. If all else fails, there is always the Victoria and Albert - god bless their respective hearts!!

As an aside, I found several sites on-line of seniors who travel and of people, who travel on their own. They have great tips!!

I am not a group traveller of the organized tour group type. I hitched through Europe in the late '60s. OK, I am not going to hitch this time, but my Joy will be in doing the trip, on the "cheap." I really find no thrill in boutique hotels, fancy meals out, renting cars, pampering spas, etc. You pay for all that "stuff." My Joy will be in the bargains and in meeting the down to earth people whose reality is in pinching pennies, while seeing the world!! Maybe my next site should be called, "Back Street Travel - Seeing the World by the Seat of Your Pants."

Kilts in Malta for Carnival - so crazy
Anyway, on a day to day basis - March lingers on, with its cold and slightly above 0ºC temperatures. We still have snow, wear boots, don heavy coats....will this ever end!!

I struggle to find joy in email inquiries to companies that answer my questions. "Do you paint old Ikea furniture?" Well, lo and behold two companies do!! However, I can't send them pictures because everything is under plastic.

Above, I have listed mere inconveniences. The real "Un - joy" this week was the fact that the furnace quit and we froze for 36 hours. Joy was in the resolution of the crisis and in the 20ºC returning to the home.

I'm not sure whom I should thank for this. I've worn out my welcome with St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes and the only biblical character in charge of heat is - you know who. So suck it up Beelzebub, we don't need your help. Canadian Tire has some amazing space heaters. We will survive!!

My Joy this week for the Joy Jar has to be that I discovered The Globe is staging a candle-light production of Macbeth in October. Maybe I should go in the Fall.

The pictures - the randomness of travel.

Have a joyous week!!

Sunday, March 05, 2023

The Joy of Everything!!

Some weeks there is nothing, as far as Joy is concerned - well almost nothing. I still have to get used to the idea that waking up in the morning should be a joyous act.

The last week of February, for example, was the week from Hell. However, I must have found some Joy, because I created a post. - shards of Joy from a shattered week.

This week - Feb 26-28 + March 1- 4 has been much better, as far as Joy is concerned - maybe not everything, but a lot!

There was, for example,

1. The poetry - While I was looking for a phrase from a play, I ended up going down a rabbit hole of poetry online. I do love reading poetry.

What I was looking for were a few lines from the Porter's speech in an early scene from Macbeth. My daughter had asked how the cat had been throughout the day and I responded with, 

"If I were the porter of Hell's gate, I should have old turning the key." 

It's a fancy way of saying that I let the cat in and out of the house so many times that I think I aged significantly, simply by opening and closing the door!!

Yes, we can elevate the mundane to the sublime, even where cats are concerned; it just takes a bit of imagination. The actual phrase is

"Here's a knocking indeed. If a man were porter of 

Hell gate, he should have old turning the key."

2. Next there was the marvellous lunch on Wednesday with a friend where we discussed many things including the fact that the film nominated for best foreign film in the upcoming academy awards is a film in Irish. I was thrilled to read that many people are not only speaking Irish, they are also writing books in Irish and making films in Irish. "Say not the struggle naught availeth."

3. Then there were the orders at work for a new product - Stellina. I distribute Stellina fibre for needle felting and spinning. It's merino wool laced with threads of silver or gold. The joy for myself and many others is the sparkle. How often have we enriched our lives with the Joy of gold and silver!!!

4. Saturday was an example of the Joy only March (or April) can bring. Friday evening there was thunder, lightning and SNOW!! The blizzard howled through the night lashing us with its wrath. Snow blinded the cars, iced the roads, and threatened the walker. We were, however, rewarded for our suffering. Saturday morning was a fairyland of white chiffon. Snow bowed the trees, billowed from heaving drifts and blew in soft swirls though the sparkling air. We were given a few hours of magic before the epic shovelling began. I love to be reminded of the chores that have been with us for generations. OK, a few had snow blowers - but only a few. There is something about the rhythm - scrape, pause, shush, on a quiet morning that reminds us that there is a commonality among those who find Joy in the North. I know we will have more snow, but this was an end of Winter blast, so I have my fingers crossed!! Sunday it will be 5ºC

5. I have finished two needlework projects that I needed to finish before I move on to the next set of unfinished projects......the Joy is in sorting out the clutter!!

6. Saturday, in addition to dealing with the snow, we also had to get a new microwave oven. I don't find Joy in having to replace "things." I would keep something that worked, forever. However, I did find Joy in the fact that my son attempted to repair the appliance. The turntable wasn't turning. He went online and watched videos on how to fix a non-turning turntable - I was impressed. He took the microwave apart. The trick was in trying to put it back together again. OK, my Dad could put anything back together again, except a relationship. My son tried. He's better at relationships than my Dad - hence the new microwave!!

7. Saturday night was a family dinner. I made Penne A La Vodka with Caesar salad and we discussed "the cat." As I so often eat alone, company is pure Joy! Tomorrow, I'll bake ribs in the oven. Soon, we will be able to BBQ them outside. Spring whispers in the mists of the melting snow.

Now, picking just one of these for the Joy Jar is a challenge. However, I think it has to be "The porter of Hell's gate." The phrase is a connection with the past and a link to the present. I'll worry about its portends for the future later.

Have a "Joyous" day

Sunday, February 26, 2023

The fine edgings of Joy...

....what is there about tragedy, misery and general dismay that makes us start to "sort things out?" I know everyone has their preferred method of dealing with s**t. Please fill me in. I need more "ammo" for the arsenal of handling a**holes. 

Generally, I cope with the nastiness life throws at me, by burying myself in projects. Right now, I have this overwhelming urge to finish up the unfinished, clear out the cobwebs and "put my life in order." It's been a bad week. My previous post outlines the slings and arrows fortune has decided to throw at me. Soooo....

Yesterday, I finally completed a crocheted afghan I have been working on for the last 5 years. All through the week I had the Joy of adding a delicate lace edging to set off the rows of granny squares, I had worked on every February in Spain. I'll pin it out once the the mats are free. Right now they are blocking a sweater I started in March 2020. I had to re-knit a problem sleeve on the garment before I could finish the I-cord trim. But I did push through with the changes and now it's blocking. I do enjoy knitting on I-cord trim.

Lastly, I dug out a cotton vest I started 7 years ago. I have two crocheted medallions left to do, before I can finish the garment with rounds of multi-coloured edging. There is a lot of Joy in the final flourishes.

I've said this before, "Needlework always brings me Joy." Once the older projects are completed, I will get back to finishing my daughter's quilt...and...and...I have new ideas for the book that's been on the back burner for a while.

Maybe it's the lengthening of the days...or the snow that has kept me from walking....or a myriad of "other things" that has brought on this spurt of energy. 

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower, drives also the needle and the spirit to produce a finished product!!

Pictures to come.

Have a productive day!!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thinking Day...

 OK, I will write about Joy next Sunday, because I know it will ultimately be a Joyful week. In the meantime, I have to add to the balance. For every spoonful of Joy there is a tablespoon of misery.


1. My website developed an error - Well, some Malware idiot tampered with the code so that any new person who registered on the site could not place an order because their login was "waiting for approval." I went through hoops. The approval was there; they were "active" on the site. I entered and re-entered their sign-up. There was nothing I could do. I waited my 1/2 hour on GoDaddy and got someone who was nice, but didn't know that much - story of my life. The bottom line is I will have to pay for a coder to adjust the code, that some creeping robot has altered, in order to have customers be able to place orders online....sigh!

2. I went to the bank to do the final arrangements with my husband's estate. It's a joint bank account but there are two sub-accounts that needed transferring. I presented all the necessary papers. However the bank needed the original will - not a copy. More hassles, more paper work. I didn't need the website to go down as well - It never rains, but it pours....and on Friday the bank froze my credit card. It's all part of the probate process. They could have warned me.

3. The February snow dump has arrived!! I knew the good weather couldn't last, but I enjoyed it while it was there. I'm also happy that I don't have to drive anywhere in this maelstrom. I spent years, when I was teaching, commuting to a small town outside of the city. A storm like this could turn an hour's commute into a three hour nightmare. I've earned my stripes.

4. Canada post is holding parcels again. Why can't they just do their job?

5. One shipment came through today from the US. However, my postman has trouble with cheques, so I did a credit card transaction. Well, didn't he debit my card twice. OK it was just 40 - odd dollars, but really twice. I have registered a dispute with Visa and now must monitor that transaction as well.

February 22, 2001 was the day I was diagnosed with a very aggressive Breast Cancer. Today, Feb 22, 2023  certainly isn't as bad, but it seems like February is just one of those months that attracts the worst in the cosmos. That being said, my problems compared to those of so many people in the rest of the world are really quite petty. I need to just "suck it up" and hope for a better day tomorrow - Feb 23, 2023.

So sorry to burden you with all this angst. But I needed an outlet. Tomorrow will be a better day. I know.

The pictures? Angst in images.

Have a better day!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Snowdrop Joy

My Joy this week has to be in finding this tiny Snowdrop, at the edge of the driveway, in bloom. OK, I have lots of Snowdrops scattered throughout the garden. Not one of them is even close to emerging. However, this one Snowdrop, precariously placed just inches from the cars that park in the driveway, has decided it is time to face the world. Well, "face" might not be the operative word, but you get the idea.

Always nature is there to remind us that, against all odds, we will survive!! 

There have been other moments of Joy this week, too. Most days have been above zero. Some were even warm by February standards. In fact, one afternoon crept up as high as 13ºC. The snow has melted. The birds are flitting through the garden and we are closer to Spring!

Even the rain was kind. It froze on the trees and sparkled when the sun came out. I took too many pictures. None of which captured the moment. Nature keeps her magic to herself dazzling us every once in a while, when we've been good!

Have a joyous week!

Sunday, February 12, 2023


 Our writing word for our writing challenge this time is "thinking." Well, I have just spent several hours online trying to find a collection of books by Edward de Bono. He is the authority on thinking, especially creative thinking. I once had a good selection of his 70 odd books, but only two have survived - "Opportunities" and "Practical Thinking." I particularly wanted "Lateral Thinking."

I went to Abebooks and found a book store in Victoria BC that had a copy for $5.00US and an estimated shipping cost to the US of $3.00. I sent them a message about the cost for shipping within Canada. In fact, I went on their website and placed an order. Well, the shipping was an extra $13.00. How did that happened?

Thrift books was OK and I may have to order several from there to make the shipping worthwhile. I'll think about that.

Years ago, I went to a day-long talk presented by Edward de Bono. It was in one of the smaller theatres at the University of Toronto. He is really a fascinating person who could talk for five hours or more on the fine Art of Thinking. He obviously possessed a gene for the fine Art of Talking, as well.

I often quote one of his examples of problem solving. It involves a change in the way one looks at a problem. Mohammed, for example tried to move mountains. He commanded the mountains to come to him. Nothing happened. After several attempts, he said, "Well, if the mountains won't come to Mohammed; Mohammed will go to the mountains." - Eureka, problem solved.

Another ploy to change a mindset, that is suggested in Lateral Thinking, is to use a dictionary and some random numbers. The first set of numbers gives you the dictionary page and the second set the count down of the words on that page. The purpose being to find a random word and use that word in your problem solving.

Let's try it. My problem could be, how to beat the Winter blahs. Here goes....

First, I took some random numbers from the front page of the Sunday Star. The date added together was 227 and a reference to an article in the paper was 17. So page 227 in my dictionary was in the C's and counting down 17 words, fortunately there were two columns on the page, gave me the word "caruncle." A caruncle is "a fleshy excrescence e.g. a turkeycock's wattles or the red prominence at the inner angle of the eye." I could also cheat and separate the word out to "car" and "uncle." Let's try the original word.

Wattles are unusual and distinctive. The inner angle of the eye is insightful. The eyes are windows of the mind. To look deeply into someone's eyes is possibly to enter their mind and maybe even their soul. If I were to take this as a jumping off point to eleviate boredom I could:

1. Make a list of a good number of excrescences found in nature and find out more about them. I could photograph them and/or write about them. I could look into people's eyes more and write about the experience.

2. I could draw eyes. I could think about tear ducts, behind the excrescences and the reasons why we cry. I could endeavour to be more empathetic towards people.

3. I could look for the unusual around me. Not everything has a wattle, but a lot of things have seemingly extraneous aspects. However, these aspects might not be useless. I could find out their use.

My list is limited, I know.

This exercise is often done as a group brainstorming technique. More minds - more ideas.

Here is what I found on line:

Warts and pimples are common excrescences that can usually be wiped out with medication; other excrescences such as cysts and tumors need to be removed surgically. Mushrooms are the excrescences of underground fungus networks. Some people consider slang words to be vulgar excrescences of the English language, but others consider slang the most colourful vocabulary of all.

OK, a whole new area of exploration - mushrooms and slang!! One site also mentioned hair as an excrescence.

I may not follow up on any of these, but I have just spent the morning writing about a word that's new to me and found some interesting areas to explore - inner sunshine! It's another grey day outside.

The pictures? #1 I have seen the light. It's one of my favourites. It was taken in Paris about ten years ago. I love how it crystallizes a moment in time!! and #2 is some graffiti on a rock in Algonquin Park, perhaps some unnatural excrescences in nature or the equivalent of graphic slang!!

Have thoughtful day!!

Uncomplicated Joy....

 ...This was a week of complications. I had to find Joy in the uncomplicated or in the unravelling of the complicated. Here's how it went....

1. I tried to set up an account with a money transferring service only to find that I couldn't connect my phone to my wifi at work - lost password. The service had asked me to take pictures of documents through their devices with my phone. However they would only send verification codes to my land line at work, (so I couldn't take pictures at home, where I had a connection.) I couldn't be in two places at once - complicated. Fortunately my son was able to restore my password at the office and I was able to complete the login and account set-up. Actually transferring money will be another learning curve. I'll keep you posted.

My Joy in all of this was to have my phone finally able to access my wifi at work. There will be more Joy when I actually send money via the service - banked Joy.

2. I made roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli with gravy on Sunday. Roasts are one of the few Joys of Winter.

3. I met a friend for coffee on Wednesday. Two and a half hours of elder - Joy!!

4. Wednesday was also gloriously warm for February.... 7ºC. Sunshine always makes me Joyful.

5. Got Wordle on the second try. Bought a lottery ticket, but didn't win. Still, there were those few hours of hope and I did win $2.00 from my last lottery buy, again prompted by a 2/6 wordle win!! Moments of fleeting Joy.

6. I wrote a post on "Slang." As I have said before, writing always brings me Joy. I also got to use the word "idiosyncratic." Random Joy.

7. I went to the bank to physically transfer money - well, in a manner of speaking. I was transferring about $1,000.00 CDN to Holland. The country, a.k.a., The Netherlands, was written all over the invoice I gave the teller. She a) wasn't sure whether Amsterdam was a street name or a city name and b) placed the city of Amsterdam in Germany. I did catch her before she transferred the money out of my personal account, when it was to be transferred from my business account even after I had logged in with my business account card. The Joy was that the errors - and there were many - were caught before the money was actually sent.

8. I spent a good part of Saturday afternoon going through garden catalogues and listing all the tomato cages, plant supports and pop-up tents that I plan to buy in March or April. Gardening always brings me Joy.

9. Mayor John Tory resigned!!! Hurray! After he voted to rebuild the Gardiner out to the beaches, I decided I really didn't like him anymore. This added to the fact that both he and Doug Ford are part of an organized crime group of developers that plan to destroy our city, our province and our good health with poisoned water, makes me very happy, even joyous to know that he is gone!!

10. Lots of orders came in at work this week. I also have a lead on some new products and I have negotiated better prices for some of the products I already have. Joy is in still having a job, a business and moving forward. The sky's the limit!!

11. Connections always bring me Joy. There was another interesting connection that was posted to my FB feed yesterday. This time it was about a clipper ship - The Cutty Sark. The post was a wonderful description of an old sailing vessel that brought tea from China to England in the late 1800s. The connection was not with the whiskey, but with a poem by Robert Burns, "Tam O'Shanter," which is the amusing story of a person, who comes upon a haunted house and sees the ghosts there having a lively party. The viewer, Tam, particularly enjoys watching an attractive wraith in a short skirt - a "cutty sark." The eponymous ship had a myriad of short sails - cutty sarks - to help it make its memorable voyages. Joy is in the connection of poetry, history and metaphors with a twist of wry (rye) humour.

Till first ae caper, syne anither, 
Tam tint his reason a' thegither, 
And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!" 
And in an instant all was dark: 
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied, 
When out the hellish legion sallied. 

I'll leave you to read the rest of the poem. It's a wonderful preservation of the Scottish dialect. I am ever grateful to Robert Burns for his decision to write in the vernacular.

Now to pick just one of the above to write on a slip of paper for my Joy Jar. I think that all the resolutions at work with the electronic, financial and commercial conundra is the ultimate fuel for the spirit lamp of Joy this week.

The pictures? The random and the idiosyncratic. 

Have a Joyous week

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Slang Part 1

In one of my posts, I did an exercise from a book, Lateral Thinking, by Edward de Bono. It's a process by which you pick a random word and use it to solve a problem. My problem was the Winter "blahs" and my word was caruncle - an extraneous growth.

The exercise is usually done as a group activity, so I decided to look up caruncle online. In addition to the listing of cysts, tumours and wattles, I found a reference to "slang." Someone had suggested that slang was the Cancer (tumour) of the English language. A counter reference suggested that slang was the more colourful of the two.

It's hard to say which idea I prefer. It's true I don't like needless (read extraneous) pedantic language, however I do like a well placed "bon mot," which often isn't slang, but a proper, perhaps even elevated, word used occasionally in everyday (vernacular) speech - "Idiosyncratic" comes to mind.

I certainly fall into the Canadian category of using the word "sorry" too often. I'll use "gonna" - "going to" and "whatcha"- "what are you.." a lot. However, I will go to great lengths to use the proper extended tense of a verb. "If it were to be done, it would be well to have had it done quickly." - just sayin'  :)

I think this insistence on verb tense accuracy comes from my 5 years of high school Latin. Some languages have no tenses except the present tense. The ancient Romans, however, had a tense structure to rival the most complicated. I guess they occupied England long enough to impart their love of convoluted tense order to the subjugated Anglos, because the imperfect, past perfect and pluperfect tenses are their legacy. It's an understanding of life that is not necessarily on-going, as in the eternal present, but one that could be seen as having been completed to some degree of perfection or not, as the case maybe, in the past.

But I digress. I was actually talking about slang as a more colourful outgrowth of the English language. So words, such as, "blurb" for a written explanation and "burbs" for planned communities outside of the evolved city centre are indeed colourful short forms for what they describe - uninteresting uniformity. They are the onomatopoeic equivalent of a "burp" - rude, bland, but necessary. (Hmmm, thinking aloud, "Did I just give you an example of colourful language that is anything but colourful. The examples are almost a contradiction in terms. It must be the Winter blahs!!)

Moving on...I also love the incorporation of words from other languages to add to our vernacular. Yiddish comes to mind, as having very colourful slang words, when used in English sentences. "Schlep," for example is the perfect connotation of dragging oneself and one's paraphernalia to and from a situation. "Kvetch" again is a great description of "bitching" without the rude overtones.

I probably use so much slang now that it has become commonplace and I have trouble separating it from the proper words that ought to be used. (This is one of the reasons I write. I need to remind myself of the correct form and usage of the words I use.)

I sense that this concept of colourful slang will be an on-going blog topic. I have written so little about what is really exciting in our everyday speech. Perhaps in Britain there are more interesting slang words - bloke, knackered, grub, come to mind. I also find myself interjecting a few words from French or German and, of course there is always Shakespeare's English.

I will close by posting two memorable, colloquial, expressions: 

First from the British, a slang interpretation of Grace, a prayer before meals:

"Thanks Gov. for the very fine grub." 

Secondly from a poem I taught in Grade 10 English:

"Methinks that the language has gone straight to pot."

The pictures? Street slang, maybe - colourful, unconventional and cryptic - the story of my life

Have an awesome day!

Sunday, February 05, 2023

February Joy!!

I've made it through January. This in itself is a distillation of pure Joy! Someone posted a poem on FB about the days of the month. It was a parody on the old "Thirty days hath September." They managed to incorporate all the months and their respective days except for January, which the poet noted had 3,648 days. - Yes, I endured everyone of them!! 

So my Joy for the last half week of January and the first half week of February was:

1. My daughter went with a friend to watch one of the games in the 6 Nations Rugby final at a local pub. This was England vs Scotland. When she came home, I asked a few questions over dinner, you know, just making polite conversation - such as, "What was the score?"..."Did they play at Twickenham?" 

She said, "How did you know that?" Well, I lived in England for two years in a flat full of Rugby enthusiasts. I have watched, in person, finals (The old Triple Crown) at Twickenham and at Cardiff Arms Park. Sadly I have never been to Murrayfield, in Scotland or Landsdowne Road in Ireland. Over here we collect Baseball parks. Over there I collected Rugby stadiums. I always like it when they say, "How did you know that?" It's happened a few times, even with American Football - we share an Eli Manning joke. It was another, "How did you know that?" Well, ... I'm not just a pretty face :)... I'm also an amazing font of useless knowledge.

2. My purple orchid is in bloom again. This would be the third time since I was given it a few years ago as a Mother's Day present. It always brings me Joy. I have four other orchids. Only one of them has re-bloomed. So, more Joy is just waiting to happen!! In fact I have a total of 55 plants, not counting the ones in my daughter's room (8) which she has the duty to care for, that brings me Joy!

3. That being said there is an Anthurium Lily in her room, which is back in bloom - Hidden Joy!

4. A friend finally posted that she was settled, having bought a house in Northern Ontario and will have her yarn business back up and running again soon. Friends and their successes always bring me Joy.

5. My son has had a few photography gigs and is working on his own headshots. Pending Joy......I know he will eventually find a full time job!!

6. The snow that fell last Sunday has stayed, especially on the trees, which makes the city look very pretty. As I have said before, I am not a fan of Winter, but I look for its positives where I can. It's like shaking Joy from an almost empty jar. Still, if there is enough in there, it will work!

7. I had a long trek to the burbs to pick up product for a store in NS. I used to hate the drive. Now, I just put in a CD and listen to music and the drive has become a tiny sliver of Joy.

8. I found chicken legs on special - 12 for $6.00. Now that's 6 servings of Balsamic Chicken at $2.00 a plate. Saving money always brings me Joy.

9. I had lunch with a good friend on Wednesday. We share an interest in so many things. Common Joy!!

10. I cooked a number of interesting meals this week. Cooking is an inherent Joy. Remember the book, "The Joy of Cooking." I have my mother's copy.

11. I couldn't find a particular pair of scissors the other day. You know the ones you use to cut cat ears out of felt with. Yes, I have more scissors than I need, however, I needed that pair, that day. Soooo, I had to sort through all my craft supplies - destashing as I went and finally found them!! I also have a very organized craft space, as a result. Decluttering always brings me Joy!

12. I hadn't actually planned on going to Ikea, however, I gave my daughter a lift to work, as she had file boxes to carry and it had snowed and I knew her work was on the way to Ikea and you know, you just go with the flow...or Joy. I went for a picture frame and came home with bowls, containers, cutting boards and yes, 3 picture frames. The Joy of spending an hour and a half at Ikea for about $50.00.

13. OK "Baker's Dozen's" worth of Joy. Friday was a day filled with orders at work. It was a surprisingly eventful day. I love the busy-ness of my business and though there are times when I'm not that motivated, I would still miss days like this and talking "yarn" with people I have known for over 25 years, if I were to ever close it. Joy in the long term.

It's hard to pick just one to write on a slip of paper and add to my phantom Joy jar, however, I think that I will pick the flowers - the orchid and the Anthurium Lily in bloom - OK that's two. They remind me that the days are getting longer. It's light now until 5:30pm. Orion will soon be in the South sky and Spring will come again, as it has for millions of millennia. Joy has its own calendar. I just steal a day or two here and there.

Have a Joyous Imolc, Candlemas, Ground Hog, and Billy Murray month!!

Sunday, January 29, 2023


I was thinking of writing Joy as "joy." This has not been a particularly inspiring week. Well, maybe that's the point. There are times when you have to hunt for Joy. It doesn't just jump up, out of nowhere and give you that hug you so desperately need. So let me fire up my Joy detector and scan the week, that was, for its fragments of Joy. 


1. Monday was my son's 30th birthday. It's always joyous to see they have come this far and fared!! Just a note, though, about celebrating special days on a Monday - EVERYTHING IS CLOSED. All the party places, balloon emporiums and dessert mongers were shut tight. Fortunately, Metro sold balloons (at half the price). Krispy Kreme donuts were open and I could get a dozen for half the price of a cake from Jules. Dollarama was good for a few streamers - they don't blow up their own balloons, and we could use the Christmas napkins which were an unthemed silver. It was the sticker shock of a delivery from Swiss Chalet for 4 dinners that was somewhat unexpected - just under $100.00. Still cheaper than a restaurant for four plus wine etc..etc.... Well, you only turn 30 once!

2. Got a 2/6 in Wordle. Bought a lottery ticket and didn't win. Sigh!  

Still, I had the "Joy" of hope for a few hours.

3. I had a delightful games' night on Tuesday and got to see "the new moon with the old moon in her arms" on the drive home. I will soon start to look for Orion in the south sky. I love being part of something that transcends time and space.

4. I finished the jig saw puzzle so I will have to find moments of fleeting Joy someplace else. Yes, finishing the puzzle might have been pure "Joy," however, there was a piece missing. OK we dropped the box a few times. There will be more Joy in the universe, if I find it in the vacuum cleaner bag. Digging for Joy in unexpected places!!

5. My son cooked a favourite beef dish of his. He used the cast iron casserole and stewed the meat for several hours. I love to see that one of his hobbies is cooking. My cast iron pot always brings me Joy - much more so when it is being used. Plus I got to eat an amazing meal!! - Non Vegan Joy.

6. I am still working on my daughter's quilt and capturing moments of fleeting Joy, as I struggle with the motifs. Years ago, I needed a cat for her camp hat. Why a cat? Well her camp name is Kat and when I was reading over the camp instructions again, fifteen minutes before her ride was to come, I realized that she needed a decoration for her hat. She needed a cat!! Jean Greenhowe to the rescue. I was able to knit a tiny cat in garter stitch and attach it to her hat just before the van arrived. Pant...pant. It worked. She still has it and I have managed to make a miniature - not knitted, though, I tried on .75mm needles. Some things are best left to memory.

The hat motif brings me Joy, not only in its completion, but also, in the fact that I can pass on a tradition of camp hats. I still have my mother's. Somehow I lost mine, but I have been able to re-create the magic of the camping experience, in my daughter's quilt. Never cease to know for whom the bugle blows, the tent pegs guy and the flag of fortune unfurls.

Hard to pick just one, but it might be #1. Parties are always a Joy!!

Have a Joyous week!! With a capital "J."

Sunday, January 22, 2023


 Yes, it's French for Joy and I have used it for no other reason than variety. This is my next post on finding Joy or Joie. However, before I evaluate my week for its relative amounts of Joy, I will take a moment to remember a student in one of my grade 10 English classes. In September her name was Joy. In the second semester her name was Joie. I also remember that she left school early, married and had daughter, whom she named, Jasmine. She might make an interesting character in a novel.

Now back to my week of finding Joy.

1. My writing partner completed her post on "light" and gave the next word "hook." I wrote my post on "hook." Writing always brings me Joy!

2. Metro had pasta clams, that looked fresh, so I bought 30 and had pasta with clams Friday night for dinner with my daughter. This is a favourite dish. It reminds me of summer, vacations to the sea, and lots of adventure. These memories always bring me Joy!

3. I was struggling with a quilt square based on my daughter's Fire Safety badge. I might have just omitted it, but it was the one badge she had mentioned. I pressed on and finally finished a whimsical interpretation. Whimsy always brings me Joy.

4. Someone posted on FB a poem by Billy Collins - Aimless Love. Well, I not only have the poem, I also have his eponymous book, which I bought at City Lights book store in San Francisco a few years ago. Connections always bring me Joy.

5. The jig saw puzzle progresses. Five or six pieces fitted in per day. As I have said before - moments of fleeting Joy.

6. The Tattooed Gardener posted the number of days until Spring. I think today would be 58 days until the equinox. Spring in itself is pure Joy, (unless it snows in May.)

7. No snow. I am not a fan of Winter, but the fact that we have had almost no snow and one blissfully mild day on Wednesday 5°C that reminded me of England, always brings me Joy.

So now, if I had to pick just one of these thin slivers of Joy, which one would it be? I think it has to be #1. Writing is my touchstone. It reminds me that I can still put a noun in front of a verb (or vice versa) and crystallize a moment in time. Writing is my record of time. It's also my Rosetta Stone. My translation of all those unspoken, and at times, cryptic messages the world sends you, which you have to decipher, and possibly even reply to, in your own enigmatic way.

Have an awesome day!!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Hook, Line & Sinker

 My writing partner has given the word "hook," as our writing challenge, with personal memory. This will, indeed, be a challenge for me, because it's a word that doesn't spark any enthusiasm. I didn't immediately say, "Great, I have a few ideas." In fact, for me the word is off-putting. I dislike the sound of it; it's bluntness, and it's nasty image of fish hook or meat hook.

That being in said, I must write a post using the word, "hook."

OK, on the positive, I am reminded of the crochet hook. I was just going through my mother's (and grandmother's) cache of crochet hooks. They are both infinitely small and grotesquely large. My mother, near the end, hoarded them. She bought any she found in thrift stores and added them to her collection. I have about 100 more or less. My grandmother would have used the small ones, in fact, the very small ones. She often sat in the living room after dinner and crocheted fine lace edgings for linen hankies, while listening to Guy Lombardo on the radio or my grandfather playing his harmonica. 

She would sip half a glass of beer and invite her budgie, Fritz, to have a taste. I would sit beside her and watch her hands move quickly and gracefully through the double and triple crochets, turning pristine white cotton thread into delicate lace patterns with the smallest, shiniest steel crochet hook. To a six-year-old, this was tranquility personified.

Last week, I needed some of that tranquility. I trekked over to St. Claire and Dundas where the cultural mix is Portuguese/Italian. Years ago I had visited a store there that stocked both fabric and yarn. I knew they would have the very fine white cotton for crochet. Things had changed, though, so I had to hunt around for what I needed. I eventually bought some #8 thread. I was actually looking for #12 and passed on the #20, which I may buy later for another project. (As a note - the higher the number the finer the thread.) I needed the yarn for two crocheted snowflakes to add to my daughter's quilt. She had a Brownie (now called Embers) badge with two snowflakes embroidered in brown and orange. Unfortunately, she will have to accept snowflakes crocheted in white and blue for her quilt. Winter is depressing enough without snowflakes in brown and orange. However, I did achieve that necessary tranquility with an outing, a project and the exercise of using one of those very fine crochet hooks.

The other hook is from the title of the post - hook, line & sinker. I have had a fascination with fishing most of my life. When I was younger - ten or twelve, I would drag my family out to some pond to try my luck with pole, reel, hook, line & sinker. I don't particularly like lake fish, but I love the idea of taking from the wild - OK the ponds are stocked - and providing food, free.

However, I don't understand, catch and release. Why would you spend hours, days, even weeks fishing just to throw the catch back into the water? Really, get another hobby. Now I can understand the allure of all those fancy fish hooks, the fascination with the precision of the reel and its locking mechanism, and the many other intricate trappings of the sport. I can also understand being out in nature, alone or with a few other like minded people. I can even understand the challenge of wanting to hook something. And, yes, I can sympathize with the caught fish, who would rather be returned to its habitat, than eaten. But to spend a lifetime searching for something only to throw it away, after you have found it, is beyond me.

On the other hand, fishing is a more humane activity than hunting, which I despise. That being said I was once friendly with a knitter who managed a knitting shop and gun boutique. In fact she would knit you a sweater and make a button out of the bullet from your kill to add to your sweater. Her company was called "The Knitting Nimrod." Yes, it is a crazy world.

The pictures? My fascination with hook, thread and needlework.

Have a rewarding day!

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Joy, how do I find thee....

.....let me count the ways - my apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.


1. We had several days of brilliant sun this week - always a joy even in snow and bitter cold.

2. I resolved an issue with the person who is taking over the knitting retreat that eight of us have organized  for seven years, pre-covid. We were always "inclusive;" the new organizer was being "exclusive." Got that changed.

3. I decided where to hang a knitted collage I had made many years ago. Just need the right frame from Ikea, for another problem to be solved.

4. I have added five or six pieces a day to the jig saw puzzle my daughter gave me for Christmas - 6 fleeting moments of Joy each day.

5. I put on new socks that were a gift from a friend. They don't match but are related. Mine have a wine theme and my son's are bright yellow with a camera theme. I do enjoy creative minds and their amazing products.

6. I completed two new squares in my daughter's quilt and decided on several more. I also completed another magical creature to embellish the small squares that join the larger squares (quilting is complicated). It's the owl from Harry Potter.

7. I listened to one Sarah Brightman CD twice, while I worked on a quilt square. In fact, I listened to CDs all week while I did my needlework in the evening. I haven't watched TV since September.

8. I read an article in the paper on "Rewilding" - getting back to nature and your natural self. I do most of that, most of the time. However, I will take some time to "examine" my life. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I may surprise myself.

The pictures? - moments of Joy. Actually the last picture is the Catherine Wheel. My daughter was named after St. Catherine of Alexandria, who was martyred on a flaming wheel. We now have a firecracker of the same name - go figure!

If I had to pick just one of the above to write on a piece of paper for the "Joy Jar," I think that I would pick #7. It's reminds me of those moments of pure Joy that only come once in a while and are often over before they have even begun. Like fireworks - spectacular, but short lived - again like life. Hmmm.....better do some Rewilding today!!

Have a joyous day!

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Joy in an almost joyless week....

 Most of this week has been grey - very grey with rain. I suppose I could have found some joy in the fact that at least it wasn't snow. I also did enjoy the memory it gave me of living in England many years ago. I loved my two years in London and still keep in touch with two of my four flatmates.

I got Wordle on the second try last Friday and bought a lottery ticket. I only buy lottery tickets when I solve Wordle on the second try or get it in three trys, three days in a row. Yes, Friday should have been my lucky day a 2/6 (wordle talk) on the day of the LottoMax draw. My win wasn't in the stars though, so I will have to wait for that joy.

I got the tree down and out yesterday. Vacuumed through the house. Organized dinner and went to the office to check on inventory for a store. I woke up this morning with nothing pressing to do - I rarely iron anyway. However, I do enjoy being organized, with a clean house, meals planned and time to dawdle.

I think my joy of the week, though, has to be a post on FB of a poem by W. B. Yeats

“Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
― William Butler Yeats

I am reminded of his passion for Maud Gonne. His love poems are always filled with the vastness of the universe and the endlessness of time. For surely Love is, what is all encompassing and forever.

The picture? The best I could do for some enduring love.

Have a lovely day

Sunday, January 01, 2023

"of Joy Jars and Blog Posts, I sing...."

Taken from "The Aeneid" - "Of arms and the man, I sing." OK it's a poem celebrating war, struggles, conflicts.....what else is new?

I rarely make resolutions, because I hate failure!! However, this year (2022) a knitting friend of mine shared a post on FB about a "Joy Jar." Well, maybe it wasn't actually called a Joy Jar, but the idea was to write on a piece of paper one "good" thing that happened during the week and put that note into a jar. Next Dec 31, you empty the jar and read about the wonderful year you had!!

I loved the idea, but hated the fact, that I would take up the limited space I have, with a mason jar full of paper. (I like the ones filled with jam!) So, I have decided to write a blog post every Sunday about the good thing(s) that happened in the previous week. Yes, one of my resolutions is finding Joy. Now if everyone had this mindset, "What a wonderful world this would be!"

OK, now how do I choose which highlight of the week to post.

1. My son's partner, Desmond, sent us probably 50 amazing cookies, butter tarts, pecan tarts, thick shortbreads covered in icing sugar, meringues....the list goes on. It was an amazing "haul." I was stunned by the monumental undertaking that Desmond accomplished, while working full-time and posting to a youTube cooking channel at the same time!! Remember I am just one of the recipients and he has many, many friends!! Fortunately, I was able to pass a few of the delectables onto other friends - you never know when you might get a dinner invitation later on :). The rest, we are devouring!!

2. My eldest sent me 6 Christmas tree ornaments of his artwork. I was thrilled. His theme is bears and his website is "" My joy is celebrating his amazing talents and in his finding peace this December.

3. My daughter is about to embark on a new job/career. OK the career is the same - swimming/pool related, but the new job gives her more responsibility, more freedom & more pay.

4. My knitting/writing friend and I have come up with an idea to keep our group of knitting friends engaged and moving forward. It's still in its infancy so more to come.

It's very hard to choose, but I think it has to be #2. I love Desmond's generosity and his joy of cooking. He has a YouTube channel for his weekly recipes - love them all - J's World Kitchen.

However, I have followed my son's artistic journey and I think that he has found an amazing direction in this new venture. So #2 it is for this week.

Look for more posts about my daughter's new adventure and about our new knitting odyssey.