Worth repeating. Kettle or corkscrew?


I was thinking about friends and how very important we are to each other. Sometimes a mother won’t do, a husband won’t do, your dog or your cat, no matter how loving, won’t do. Sometimes you need a friend who can hear you and only you, they don’t see the daughter, wife or caregiver, they just see you.

I have some very dear friends and we have planned a girls’ weekend at the beginning of June. These are the women that I can’t wait to see. I hum with excitement when I think about what those three days will hold, for we will laugh, cry and tell stories. We have grown up and grown together.

It is not always laughter and parties though, we have each had our share of times when we simply can’t go it alone and we need our friends to guide us.

These are the friends who are there when you need them. They are women who can be there and will be there. One phone call. The women who spring into action. They come alone or as a group. Together, they are a force, they will move mountains for you or knock you about your silly head until you see the truth, they will circle you and form a barrier from the world if necessary. And you would do the same for them.

Many years ago, I sat in Sandy’s living room crying over something minor, a boy or work problem, I don’t remember now it was so inconsequential, but what I do remember is that when I was through crying and felt better, I thanked her. She laughed and said, “That, my love, is why I am here. If you want sympathy you come to me. If you want to hear the truth, you call Heather.” Heather is a very sympathetic caring friend, but she is also a hunker down at the kitchen table and ask the hard questions friend. She is the friend who helps you to look into yourself and see what you need to do. The beauty is that either friend can play either role and if you aren’t sure what you need, if you think you need to cry and hear the truth, just ask them both to be there. Sandy’s words were to make me laugh and cheer me up, but they have always stuck with me because I learned a valuable lesson, listen to your friend, figure out what she needs and be there in that way.

Over the years, we have developed a shorthand and when a rough time is upon us and the friends are called, one question sets the tone, “Kettle or corkscrew or both?” Do you want tea and sympathy? Red wine and the truth? Or should we just pour the wine into the teacups and give you both?

We are so lucky to have each other.



Written in 2010


Paris, again

Considering our family is in the bakery business and we are not strangers to good bread, I have to admit there is some delicious bread here.    


The Musee d’Orsay has a fabulous Italian art nouveau exhibit.   
  Giverny – Monet at his best. 







Paris #1


The ill fated metro, andy encountered a pick pocket before we reached our apartment. After the initial shock we decided it is what it is and there was nothing we could do to change it.  Our landlord Christophe was an immense help cancelling credit cards and then insisting that we walk through the neighbourhood with him.  We are staying in the tenth arrondissement, once home to the fashion trades and now to Internet businesses.  A very hipster area with a perfect mix of ethnicity.    

 After coffee and croissants we visited the Musee de Montmartre and the Salvatore Dali museum, drank cold beers in a sidewalk cafe resting our tired feet.  Two hundred stairs up to the top of Montmartre reminded us why everyone is so slim here. 

A secret staircase to the Renoir gardens, a peaceful spot filled with grapevines, bee hives and flowers. 


An artist’s atelier preserved from the Belle Époque era. 


The bar next door hosted a children’s party. Later that night we enjoyed a rum concoction and listened to a DJ spin electronic music, still with streamers and balloons. 


Getting too old to be the last ones on the street!  

 A demain!  



The dock is in now, a few big family members solved that problem last weekend.  Andy and I are saying goodbye to Redstone Lake for a few weeks and saying hello to the Seine, departing tomorrow night and landing Sunday  morning in Paris.  After consultation with the soeur I’ve packed the chosen lenses and my camera.   I’ve handed off the Nikon 7700 to Andy in the hopes that the photo walks will be more inclusive.

I have been wrapped up in anticipation, making lists, planning an efficient wardrobe to fit in my carry on luggage, even breaking in a new pair of shoes.  It’s been three years since our last visit to France, however this is my first Paris spring.

I have promised myself I will post photos each day, sharing our experiences with all of you.



be still – two


it’s been almost two years since we lost charley to a stroke, just another way she was in step with me.  a few months later we brought home mickey, a silver lab, born the same day charley died.  i am the first to admit that i am slightly detached from our new pup, i miss the strong bond that i had with charley and anyone that has experienced life with a puppy, well, you know what it is like, even at two years still a pup.  puppies see the world as a kaleidoscope of adventure and will take any risk to enjoy life, mickey is no exception.  she has eaten passports, expensive boots (mine), the short ribs thawing on the counter, money….but she comes when she is called, she walks beside as if she had years of obedience training.  we still have not bonded.  she tries all the time, i try sometimes.

this afternoon i worked on this photo for my be still class with kim klassen.   it was challenging because i had spent several hours with the eye doctor and the usual blur that i fight with was amplified by eye drops and tests.  the good news is there are no signs of any serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, the bad news is that one of my strokes has effected my sight.  i just can’t see the way i used to.   cutting edge lenses have been ordered, regular visits to the eye clinic have been scheduled and i am under the watchful eye of a very good eye doctor.

it is what it is and as i squinted and muttered the odd curse as i worked on the photo.  be still, take time to breathe and see clearly.  i am hoping that i will see mickey in a new light.  as a second pair of eyes that will help me seek the sunlight and the sticks.





it’s only one thing and it shouldn’t be that hard to finish, truth be told it wasn’t that difficult to begin

it happens to me all the time, one thing comes to my mind

unbidden, appearing out of nowhere or coming with a lot of other little things impersonating ideas

 there it sits, in my mind’s eye, twinkling and sparkling until it starts to blind me, everything in the picture seems out of focus

and boom, i begin

i work on it, i neglect it, i obsess about it, that thing that needs attention, that idea that just won’t leave me alone

i lose interest, i don’t finish it, i am filled with regret but that’s okay

because when i wasn’t looking, another thing had come along




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