A little blood on Halloween seems almost redundant


I used to love carving pumpkins.  I was one of those weirdos hoping to have the most creative pumpkin on the block, so I bought a carving kit and some patterns and locked myself in a room to avoid distraction.

Walls were spattered with stringy pieces of eviscerated pumpkin.  Elongated strings of profuse verbiage slithered under the doorway, assaulting the ears on the other side of the door, and small drops of minor arterial spray infused themselves into the paint on the wall.  But at the end of the painstaking process I achieved success!  The copious amount of band-aids, blood loss and light-headedness were worth the effort.  My pumpkins were the talk of the town.  My then-boyfriend’s children (who I still refer to as my step-children) were even proud to acknowledge the creativity on our front doorstep.

After my first attempt, I became a little less guarded when it came to the carving process and the whole family would get involved.  Where there were originally only two arms covered in pumpkin guts, eight sticky arms reveled in the joy of dissecting the large gourds and separating the seeds from the gooey mess.  Each of us skilfully created our masterpieces and sat back with a smile as the toothy pumpkins returned our stares.

The house would begin to smell of the roasting pumpkin seeds and, after a massive clean up, we would light our pumpkins and snack on the seeds in the darkened living room.  The memories of those nights of laughter and camaraderie are the ones I still hold close.

As the eve of Halloween approaches, I am slightly saddened that those years are so far behind me.  I live on a street where no children trick-or-treat so there is no need to create any more scary faces.  Perhaps this year I should take advantage of the fact that my digits are all still intact and drag out the carving tools once again.  I’m sure my dog would like to sit in the dark with me staring at faces like these:



Happy Halloween everyone!

Which side of the road should the chicken be on?


It is almost November and the weather is going to great lengths to remind us of the impending torture of unpredictable temperatures and precipitation for the next thirty plus days.  Today was a glowing example of that.  The remnants of Hurricane Patricia swirled hungrily around our little town and brought with them the feeling of doom that always precedes winter.  The rain fell sideways and the South West wind systematically unzipped our coats to leave us feeling exposed to the elements.

On my drive home from work, watching the storm-laden sky become even darker, I could think of nothing more than crawling into a cave of blankets in my living room and allowing myself to succumb to the heat that would soon be escaping from my baseboard heaters.  The thought of having to cook a full dinner did not impress me at all so I visited the grocery store and purchased a warm, fragrant pre-roasted chicken.

There is nothing better than comfort food on a cold, grey night.  The pungent smell of the chicken permeated my kitchen as I boiled some potatoes and made a somewhat deconstructed stuffing.  Onions and celery were left to saute with some bacon as the potatoes were mashed into submission.  I usually love to add some flare to the presentation of my meals, but comfort food speaks loudly and needs neither pomp nor circumstance to assert its message.


The food was delicious.  My heaters obliged by taking the chill out of the air but the meal lacked a certain something.  I love my solitude.  I enjoy my own company and I have several friends, one close friend in particular, who admire me for being so content on my own.  But my “Thrifty Thursday” Chicken (as the store labelled it), my mashed potatoes and bread-less stuffing would have tasted much better had I been able to share it with someone special.

There is much to be said about living on your own.  That privilege of freedom defines gratitude better than a thousand dictionaries.  But the joy of being in a room with someone who helps accentuate your happiness is immeasurable.  Whether those moments are shared in silence or lost in a cacophony of laughter and endless conversation, those are the moments that create memories.  And those are the moments that can sometimes make solitude feel a little more like loneliness.


I should have saved at least one


My mother and I never had a traditional greeting when we called each other.  Instead of the banal “Hi Mom”, I could not help but deviate to the voice and the very unusual way Steve Martin used the word in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I mean.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure of viewing this 1980’s masterpiece, allow me to introduce you.

When she was still with us, I would dial my mom’s number and when I heard her voice say hello, the first words out of my mouth were “Muther, muther”, doing my best to imitate Steve Martin as the classic character of Ruprecht.  She would always respond with an elongated “yeeeessss”.  It was our thing.  It was something only the two of us shared and it made me want to call her all the time just to hear that extended response because it made my heart smile every time I heard it.

It’s been just over a year and a half since she left and I still find myself nonsensically picking up the phone to call her.  There are still things in my life that I only want to share with her and, although I know she has all of the details of my life, I just want to hear her voice one more time.

I think back to all of the voice mails she left for me and I berate myself for not saving any of them.  Even if it was the most trivial narration of what had happened in the dining hall, that simple communication contained the timber and gentleness of the voice I have known for longer than I have physically been on this Earth.

Sometimes I think I have been able to pull that sound from the vault of my memory but it will always be missing that special element.  It will always be missing her, just as much as I am.

All arrows pointed to Chile….I mean chili



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With the days growing shorter and the nights becoming cooler, my natural reaction to this autumnal phenomenon is to adorn the apron, plant my bare feet firmly on my kitchen floor and cook.  Today the universe made the signs of my nesting tendencies abundantly obvious when our grocery store flyer found its way to my desk and had every necessary ingredient for chili at a discounted price.  As beautiful as the landscapes are in Santiago, I opted for some ground beef, kidney beans and the two necessary ingredients for my chili that others may frown upon but they make it mine.

I find a deep sense of comfort in my kitchen.  While chopped onions feverishly jump in the Dutch oven and the rest of the ingredients lay in wait to join the party, the smells of happiness assuage any other feelings I may have carried home with me from the remnants of my day.  The food in the pot is not just food – it is my sanctuary and my resolve to end the day on a positive note, regardless of how it began or how it ensued.

Cooking and baking are a tonic for me.  They are a natural drug I can always count on to make me feel like myself again.  And they are not just there to pull me from a sullen mood but also there to heighten my well-being on the good days, which thankfully far outweigh the bad days.

I have often pondered the idea of taking a leap of faith and pursuing this passion to make it a career but I am always left with fragments of an unfinished conversation that always takes place in my head.  ‘If I do it for a living, will it just become a job and will I lose my passion for it?’  I would hate to have something I take so much pleasure in become a prosaic way to pay the bills.

Until I become brave enough to get within range of that bridge, I will not even entertain the thought of jumping off of it.  For now, I will remain content with the wafting smell of chili from my kitchen, the collection of frozen soups in my freezer and the anticipation of the already-marinating pork tenderloin for dinner tomorrow.

“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” ~ Julia Child







It was a bad math exam


I lived through a very tumultuous marriage.  It was a great lesson for me but, in mathematical terms, the product of my relationship was divided by the sum of our differences and eventually created a result that lacked a remainder.   There were so many variables and so few constants that our bond was doomed from the beginning.  I should have been the operator but, instead, I felt like a fraction of my true self.

The formula for a successful bond relies on a form of symmetry.  The arrangement of the most fundamental parts of our lives need to align to create a true collaborative bond.  You cannot expect to live a happy life in a paradox.  You cannot create an answerable question without supplying the linear equation that gives you those answers.  All of the pieces of your life need to make you happy, not just the sum of the happy parts.  Going through the motions and cancelling out the negative parts of the bigger picture subtracts from the value of each day.  Sure you will make mistakes along the way, but those mistakes should add to your education and not take away from your self-worth.

I lived that equation.  The perfect number may exist in the glossary of mathematical terms but it does not thrive in real life.  Perfection takes effort and, at the end of the exam, all of the negatives never added up to a positive for me.  I was in the wrong equation and it was glaringly evident.  It was time to subtract myself and cut my losses.

math equation

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Once my math exam was over I learned to breathe freely again and I felt empowered by my freedom.  I learned to enjoy my own company more than I ever had and it was liberating.  What I currently perceive as solitude some would call loneliness but they don’t have the numbers to back up their hypothesis.

I now spend my days knowing that I passed that math test and that my final grade has truly helped me balance my life in a way that I never thought possible.  And now that I have erased the errors of my past, I am free to create a new formula for my happiness.  I can choose to remain constant or I can choose to add or subtract the things that will bring me the most happiness.  Regardless of what I choose, I know I will only add the people who fill the gaps in my life and not those who subtract from my bliss.

Even the greyest skies can be beautiful


Mottled grey,

monochromatic morning

lending a painting

as the ceiling of our day.


The sky need not be pink

for us to see its splendor.

There is beauty in all things,

we just have to look beyond the norm.


A storm will come and go

but there is always artistry

in the wake of its anger.

From darkness blossoms light.


When the world seems silent, the heart still has a voice.


The whisper of real love

tickled my ears so long ago

and feels like a long forgotten conversation.

Those words,

those sweet nothings,


no longer seem to be in my vocabulary.

But the book of love

still has music in it and

every so often I open that book.

Those notes play melodies on my heart-strings.

The familiar phrases of love,

the notes on the scales of romance,

still exist

and play wistfully in my memory.

Perhaps I am meant to hear that music again.

Just maybe the songs I hear from that book

are heard by someone else

and we haven’t yet had a chance to listen to them together.

For just a moment,

 I want to close my eyes and really hear the music.

I want the Book of Love

to play a song for me just one more time

and have it be the only song I truly hear

for the rest of my life.

You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind


I am thankful I have always been a realistic person with a penchant for the optimistic side of the scale.  I have never been one to dwell on the unfavorable circumstances I have lived through but I have chosen to use those unfortunate times as lessons, and there have been many.  I could have opted to wallow in my misery but I continued forward, leaving those inopportune moments to collect dust while I moved on.  Had I allowed myself to exist in those adverse periods of my past, I would be in a very different place in my life today.

I am who I am because things in my life went wrong.  But I am also who I am because of how I handled those things with a positive attitude.  Even the most successful people have endured monumental setbacks.  These moments are how life teaches us to be better people and these moments are why hope exists.  That beacon of light in the darkness of our reality shines to draw us from the negativity that is ready to envelop us if we let it.

Optimistic minds see a glass as half full but truly positive minds will disregard that glass completely and only focus on its contents.  There is no line and, if you take away the glass, there is no halfway mark.  There is only the reality of what was in the glass in the first place.

no glass at all

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We need to embrace the messy, broken glass of our crazy lives and we need to drain every favorable ounce of life out of the remains when the glass is removed.  The substance inside the glass is what we focused on in the first place and, regardless of how it sat in the glass, it remains the positive part of the bigger picture.

Life is unpredictable.  Life will try to dampen your spirits and cloud your skies.  But life will always show you the rainbow if you are willing to see it.

A little water goes a long way


“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” ~ John Leonard


 There is something inherently great about spending time with someone who just gets you.  You never feel the need to have to defend your point of view and you feel comfortable sharing your deepest personal feelings, your laughter and your tears without any fear of judgement.

I am deeply blessed to have many of those friends in my life.  There are some who I see regularly, some who are separated from me by provinces, there are some out of touch by circumstance and there is one in particular who has mysteriously reappeared after we let decades slip past.  But, in each case, we have been able to pick up where we left off and the glue that binds our relationship remains intact.

Friendships like these have sustainability like the house plants you had in your dorm room during college or university.  They may have been neglected and not received the water required to grow, but somehow, miraculously, they continued to thrive and flourish although they were not given the consideration they could have received had they been tended to daily.

dying plant

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True friendships will continue to grow and spread their roots deeper into the soil of the relationship.  And whether they are watered frequently or left for weeks at a time to fend for themselves, good friendships will sustain themselves during the lonely times and blossom during the moments they are nurtured.

It does take a long time to grow an old friend but it is certainly time well spent.

I’m hearing the voices again….


I have had a debate going on in my head for a long time.  I am a very spiritual person but I don’t devote myself to a particular religion. I don’t grace the interior of a church on a regular basis but I do believe in a higher power and life beyond this place we call our reality.

As I child I had a few “imaginary” friends.  I don’t recall their names, nor do I remember how long they graced me with their presence but I know, undoubtedly, that they were there.  I watched a movie years ago called ‘Heart and Souls’ with Robert Downey Jr. and the discussion I was used to only having in my head came barreling, full force, into my here and now.  Perhaps the innocence of my childhood allowed me to hear things beyond my three-dimensional limitations.  Just maybe my mind was permitted to be open to hearing the spirits that chose to help me on my journey through this physical world and those voices in my head were not merely conjured by childhood imagination.


Similar to the plot line in the movie, those sounds in my head were slowly extinguished as I got older.  As my childhood innocence was replaced by teenage angst and the stress of being a young adult, the voices were unable to permeate the reality that had stolen my youth.  My ability to connect with those ethereal intonations was replaced by the clanging, brash sounds of adulthood.

I have been to mediums and people who are able to channel the spirits of those who have moved beyond the physical world.  Some have been a pure hoax and some have been truly blessed with the ability to connect with those voices that wait patiently on the other side for those who are able to hear them and willing to listen.  Through those people I have learned more about spirit guides and souls who have passed but are still connected to my soul.

I can occasionally hear those murmurs again.  Faint whispers land gently on my ears, each with their own unique way of communicating.  I like to believe that those voices have always been with me but I became too surrounded by the cacophony of life to hear them.  I take solace in the fact that I am never truly alone and if I listen closely enough, if I really stretch myself beyond the closed walls of my mind, the whispers of those friends and family will follow me through this journey into whatever adventures lay in wait for me after this one.