Time Amongst the Trees

20161010_141840Hi all. It’s been a while. A very LONG while. I’m not going to say “I’m back” – that’s a declaration that’s too definite. But I will be here on occasion – more than I have been. I’m still spending almost as much time in nature as I always did – being amongst the trees always lifts my spirits. And now that I’m working in an office, I make a point – as often as I can – to get outside.

Photography is my journal and I’d like to share the photos I’ve taken.

I just got a new cell phone (Samsung S6) and I have to tell you, the camera on it makes my old DSLR look pretty sad. The phone is small, it’s convenient and it’s always with me.

One of my favourite tricks with photography is take a photo of a little piece of magic in very mundane area. The photo above was taken near where I live in the burbs. There’s a McDonald’s and a Quickie across the street. Cars were whizzing by as I snapped the shot. But isn’t it lovely? Wouldn’t you think it was somewhere else?

Looking Back

Sometimes I like to open my photo file and see what I was doing 5 or 6 years ago on a particular day just for fun. I’m not always lucky enough to find a photo on the exact date or one that is even meaningful. Occasionally, though, I will stumble across one that makes me smile and brings me back to the day and location.

March 6th, 2010 – a friend treated me to a day in Montreal as a birthday gift. She picked me up on the Saturday morning and we drove like the wind to the bustling city. We wandered in and out of the many shops on Saint Catherine St. and had lunch at her favourite pizza spot in the area. The weather was warm for early March and there wasn’t a stitch of snow on the ground – very unlike this year.

I remember the day vividly as a little taste of freedom. At the time my kids were 5 and 7 – and I was just entering the stage when it was okay to be away for a bit. Especially when you are a full-time, stay-at-home parent these moments of freedom are few and far between. I had this recurring feeling like I was forgetting something but then I realized that, nope…I was good. I breathed in the cool, spring air and felt the sunshine on my face and reveled in how light I felt.

My friend may or may not remember this day but it was a gift I will always appreciate. I’m so glad I came across this photo today.

original 1141


A Little Fresh Air

I’m normally not a cranky person. Sure, I can have my moments but getting up in the morning doesn’t usually make me lose my bubbly. This morning, however, I got a little whiny. I was up all night with a sick child and the morning seemed tougher than usual. I went to work looking like a Picasso and planned on bailing early to go home for a nap.

Lunch time came around I was still feeling like my right eye was the size of my ear and my nose was a little left of centre when I heard someone say, “It’s beautiful out!”. I decided right then and there that I needed some fresh air.

There’s a neighbourhood behind the business park where I work where I love to walk. There aren’t super fancy houses but pleasant ones with large lots and mature trees. After the big snowfall we’d had the day before, everything was covered in a clean, crisp white blanket. As soon as I stepped onto a snow-filled side street, my heart felt lighter and my facial features seemed to dance back into place.

I heard a Pileated Woodpecker in some tall trees and walked over to see if I could find it. I didn’t see him but that’s when I notice how lovely these bent branches looked trimmed in snow.


After about a 40 minute walk, I made my way back to the office and felt much happier and more energized for the rest of the afternoon. Nothing like a little fresh air to set things straight.

Source of Creativity

Hello to whomever may still drop by here. Sorry I haven’t been around much. It’s been quite a year. I’ve adjusted to having a full-time, out-of-the-home job again and finally learning to balance kid activities with trying to make time for myself, AND getting a good sleep every night (the last two items are reserved for whatever time is left over). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m enjoying having a job to go to, contributing financially, being able to afford a few extra accessories for myself or my house, and doing some activities I would have had to pass on in the past due to a lack of funds. However, with the increase in funds comes a lack of energy. By the time the kids are in bed at 9 pm, I think of how i’d love to write but I’m just too damned tired…so I veg in front of the TV instead.

All the characters in my stories are caught in some horrible vortex of frozen action – some were left in very desperate situations for sure. I miss them and wish it was easier to pick up with them again. In a lot of ways blogging is a distraction from the writing I should be doing, but it’s easier and makes me feel like I haven’t completely abandoned the art – not that I’ve been doing much of that either…and yes, the guilt and frustration is getting to me a little. But I’m the only one who can fix that.

20160123_173817As you know, when it comes to creative activities, I have A LOT of them that I enjoy doing. One thing I picked up again recently was sewing. I’m not a great sewer…but I can sew well enough to make things fit and stay together. I decided to make an outfit (in the vein of Outlander) for Robbie Burns day back in January. I spent an hour or two every evening, after the kids were in bed, sewing away while watching one the many series I follow on Netflix (damn Netflix!). It was so relaxing and my outfit turned out much better than expected! I’m even going to wear it to Comiccon…yep…I’m doing it.


My sewing project did show me that if I chill out a little, I can be quite productive. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to write. I got sucked into the whirlwind of “must write, must edit, must publish, must market” of the writing world – which is pretty easy if you look at writers’ social media, ROW, NANOWRIMO, etc. Writing became a must-do as opposed to a want-to-do and the creative juices just dried up. I’m trying to dump that attitude. I just want to write for the pure joy of writing. I think I’m slowly creeping back there but it may take me a while longer and then I have to build a routine – but even the thought of building a routine gives me some stress. So no…I just have to look forward to a little writing when I’m inspired.

All that, to say…I haven’t totally disappeared. I’m still here and hope to be back more often again…but no pressure.🙂 The source of creativity comes from a calm mind and a willing heart.


Happiness is a Cloud Word

realHave you noticed over the past few years, particularly through social media, that the idea of attaining a state of happiness is being pushed really hard? And you think, oh yes, it would be great to be happy. What do I have to do to be happy? And there’s all sorts of solutions; my favourite being Choose Happy. And then you think, but I’m not happy all the time – there must be something wrong with me. And you Google “happiness” and find 1001 ways to attain it. And you delve in and start trying these tried and true methods: gratitude, living life your own way, decluttering, finding God, etc. There’s even happiness challenges. After 21 days of doing this, this, and this, and you’ll be a happier person. You might even convince yourself at the end of it: I’m happier.
But are you? Have you ever considered what it means to be happy? Sure, it will mean different things for different people. But what is it REALLY? I think “happiness” is a cloud word. It doesn’t really mean anything. Sure, it’s positive but I don’t think it’s something that’s a constant. I don’t think you can BE happy. I think you can feel happiness at moments as a culmination of events but it’s fleeting. I find this constant push to “be happy” almost insulting, actually. There are some days when I don’t fucking feel like being happy. Does that mean there’s something wrong with me? No. But if you are inundated with messages telling you the opposite, what are you going to think?

I’m no psychologist (clearly) but I know, in my gut, when a trend is flawed. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out WHY I don’t like it, why when I see the messages my toes curl. Sometimes I don’t bother saying anything about it. I just ignore it. But normally I’m not good at ignoring things that bug me. I think the case of “Happiness” really bugs me because I know too many people who aren’t in a perpetual state of happy, and if they say they are – warning bells go off.

Here’s what I think we should be saying if we want to talk about positive things in our lives. If you feel happy – why do you feel that way? Have you been productive that day? You’re satisfied. Are you taking a mini vacation to some place you love? You’re excited. Are you feeling the kiss of the sun on your face and a warm breeze? You’re peaceful. Are you playing around and laughing with family and friends? You’re having fun.

Sure, there may be sprinklings of happiness throughout a day but it’s okay to acknowledge the shit that brought you down too. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m depressed. I don’t want to talk to anyone today.

I’d say lets start a campaign about being REAL. Let’s use terminology that is grounded. That means something. That is attainable. I mean, there are 100’s of 1000’s of people out there to whom happiness isn’t even a thought. Their goal is surviving the day – and I’m sure this is where someone would bring up the word gratitude (which I also abhor), but I won’t get into that term today. For those of us, who have time to consider our feelings – even dwell – lets acknowledge that life isn’t about happiness. Life is about ups and downs, successes and challenges. And sure, going about this in a positive way makes it easier but if you can’t that day, do the best you can with what you’ve got. That’s reality.

That’s REAL.


Every year I can’t resist taking photos of my plum tree in bloom. This year it seemed to go from just budding to full blossoms in one day. It’s in full glory right now. The problem for me was trying to find a new and unique way to capture the blossoms. I mean, how many ways can you photograph plum blossoms? Well, happily I think I found one. What do you think of this?

Plum Blossoms

This morning I was up early and enjoyed the view out back of the rising sun capturing the freshly forming maple leaves. Interestingly, living in Canada my entire life, I’d never noticed that maple trees have blossoms too! I know. For shame, for shame. They just happen to be green and they’re quite lovely!

Maple Blossoms

These were taken with my cell phone and I continue to be impressed with the camera on it. However, hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to take a foray into the blossoming park-lands of Ottawa with my DSLR and capture some more.

Until next time, enjoy the nature around you whatever the season!