The Kindest Thing.

Today’s post is inspired by an article about a tweet in which Twitter user @Nicole_Cliffe asked: What was the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

What a great question! The answers really touched my heart!

People! The world might be a dumpster fire but people, we are NOT. We CAN be awesome. There were so many wonderful acts of kindness and bravery and creativity in showing love and caring. Oh it did my heart so good! Go have a read!

Do you have a favourite? Mine is the one about a person having a panic attack and some other person’s service dog approaching them to lay their head on their laps for 20 mins until they felt better. Be still my heart! I love dogs. We don’t deserve them ❤

I’m so curious now! There must be thousand and thousands of beautiful stories out there! So please, wont you play along too?!

Here is mine!

My Hubs and I were young parents with one child and thought it’d be fun to take our boy to Harrison Lake for the day. Harrison Lake is in BC and while the lake itself is frickin’ huge and deep and windy, it also has a little shallow lagoon that’s just perfect for three year olds to play in in relative safety if you keep your eye on them.

Well. You know how bad things can happen in the blink of an eye? That is what happened to me.

I stepped two steps away from my son, playing at the waters edge, and turned to look to see where my Hubs was. Just a backwards glance. When I turned back, my boy was face down in the water. I froze in shock, completely horrified. It was like I was being held in place by an invisible force-fear- and I was completely powerless against it, no matter how hard I sought to run to him.

Lucky for me -and him- a young man saw it too and raced for him, plucking him up gasping and choking and then thankfully crying and coughing and brought him to me.

“You need to be more careful” He says to me, not unkindly. I grabbed my boy from him, and soothed him, heart racing as I said to my new BFF, ” You are SO right. Thank you!”

And strangely, that was that. The young man went his way, we went our way. Both of us probably feeling a bit stunned…and one of us much wiser.

My son was fine in the end but I was a wreck for years after…even now I’m hyper aware and I’m sure I annoy everyone with my safety talks and anxious vigilance. But whatever! I know perfectly well how quick these tragedies can happen. We were so LUCKY that young man was there and that he was able to react the way he did, others are not. I will never, ever let that gift go wasted ❤

Ok. Your turn! Tell me your story!

What’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

A Nice Lunch Out.

You know when you’re grocery shopping and you just want to get the job done so you’re doing your thing but, there are people casually strolling through the aisles looking at everything and blocking you at every effing turn?

Annoying right?!

I am that annoying person.

Sorry.

(I’m not sorry)

In my defense I only do it at certain stores and one of those stores happens to be: Italian Centre Shop.

This place is a small chain of locally owned- Edmonton, AB- and operated grocery stores that sell Italian products AND…they carry stuff from around the world.

The world!

It’s the coolest place ever. I almost never go unless I have a good stack of bills because I will BUY ALL THE THINGS and I don’t want lack of cash to limit any of my choices. There are so many choices! They have an amazing deli, bakery and café. They bring in locally sourced items and have specials and deals and events and are active in the community.

Prices are reasonable, products are interesting and of quality, service is friendly and efficient. It’s basically one of my favourite places. Ever!

I’ve been a fan for almost 9 years and while we usually grab sandwiches from the café to go, we’ve never actually ordered a full meal and sat down for it.

We – the Hubs and I -did just that on a cold day in February.

Our location of choice? The southside on 104a Street. The lunch? Soup and sandwich.

It was the daily special and if memory serves me, it was only 9.98. That golden bowl of loveliness was Chicken & Rice and that deceptively looking simple sandwich was … I can’t remember. Sorry! It had sausage, fresh mozzarella , artichokes, a pepper spread … (CALABRESE! That’s the name of the sandwich. Calabrese! ) and lettuce. I could eat 900 of those things…

The soup was thick with rice, veggies and real chicken. The broth was rich and fragrant with just enough seasoning to be satisfyingly salty but not overdone. It was juuuust right. The sandwich had a nice mix of creamy, crunchy, salty, smooth, spiciness that seems to get tastier and tastier with each bite. I could have done without the lettuce. I found it added nothing really and was annoying to bite through. This is probably a personal thing! Some people like it, some people don’t … I couldn’t be bothered to pull it out though so it obviously wasn’t horrible.

ANYhoo, it was a great meal at an affordable price in a busy little neighbourhood café . It would benefit your stomach and soul to stop in sometime. And if you just want to shop, I promise to try and be more mindful of my surroundings!

T is for *Tea. A-Z Challenge.

Tanzanian style tea!

I enjoyed many vibrantly spiced cups of tea whilst in Tanzania last year and of course I just had to go and fall in love! It’s like chai only so much more. A true cup of beauty! Rich and spicy. Warm and comforting. Like nothing I’d had before.

I’ve been trying to recreate it ever since to no avail, even though Grace, our lovely friend and guide so generously gave me detailed instructions. The spices I have aren’t as fresh, the water and milk are different, the tea is not even close to being as fragrant…boooo! I got the sugar down though, ha ha. That’s one thing! I’ve been driving myself nuts with the process but have still come up short. I guess it’s just one of those things.

ANYhoo, I do have a version that comes close and while not exactly “right” it was made per a Tanzanian’s instructions and it’s good!

Ready? This recipe serves one.

Smash up:

  1. 1 cinnamon stick
  2. 7 cardamom pods
  3. 5 cloves

Grate 5 slices of ginger.

Add one mug’s worth plus a touch more of water to pot. This mug holds 1.5 cups of water. You’re adding a touch more because some water is going to boil off in the process.

Add your spices to the water along with a good couple of grindings of black pepper.

Yeah,yeah. I didn’t grate the ginger. I am lazy. You should though!

Bring to a boil and boil gently for 5 min.

Turn heat to low and add your black tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Bring back to a simmer. If you’re not having milk, strain and serve. If you are having milk, you have to use canned milk. Seriously. It’s a must. Just trust me. Add your canned milk to the pot and heat through. Strain into mug.

Add sugar if you wish-I do- but the sugar must be the unprocessed kind:

Et voila, Tanzanian style tea.

I highly recommend you actually go to Tanzania and enjoy it authentically there! My version is good but there is nothing like the real thing. Report back here if you do!

F is For *Favourite Things. A-Z Challenge.

Sadly, unlike Oprah’s favourite things show, this will not be a giveaway post. Nobody is getting a diamond bracelet, or a trip. There is no parking lot full of cars to be gifted out to you, my darling readers. I am sorry! If I could, I would. Of course!

What you will get (hopefully) is inspiration to think about your own favourite things and why those things are your favourites. What do they mean to you? I’m into living simply, that’s for sure BUT I also strongly believe that it’s important to express one’s self through the objects we keep in our lives and there is much we can learn, positive and negative from the things we surround ourselves with.

I saw this at Michael’s Craft store around Halloween and fell madly in love! Why? Well, That is Lotus Pose – my kind of lotus pose! I am not flexible enough to get my feet up either, haha- with hands in Namaste. I am a half assed Buddhist and this is all my jam! But more than that, I love this piece because it is a skeleton and it reminds me to relax fully into life and death. It reminds me that we all suffer, we all die, and we all have great potential to experience peace, calm, love and joy in the meantime. It reminds me of this ” No mud, no lotus” and this ” May I Live Like The Lotus. At Ease In Muddy Water” and this ” Let The Mud Settle” Mantras and lessons and ideas that I find very helpful in my everyday life. Plus, it’s so cute sitting there on my art table, all creepy and such. I get a kick out of freaking people out and then engaging in deep conversations with them, or at least popping positive ideas in their heads about life and such.

My son made me this little owl and I adore it. Of course I do, right? I adore it for another reason. When he brought it home to me he said it wasn’t very good and even though I reassured him that it was “most excellent!” he struggled still and while that totally broke my heart, I understood completely. I am a perfectionist too. So when I look at my owl I’m reminded to go easy on people and go easy on myself.

What? A yellow plate? Hell yes a yellow plate! Food looks better, tastes better and feels better on a sunny yellow plate. This bistro set- plate, salad plate and bowl- by Fiesta ware makes me happy every time I look at it. I have all different colours but I love this one so much I think I might just replace the others and sub in more yellow 🙂 Especially helpful in the drab winter months!

My Hubs bought me these giraffes at a stall in a mall for our anniversary. They are from Kenya, and it was my longest dream to go to the continent of Africa to see the animals, so they served as a reminder and motivation for that. I’d walk past them, give them a stroke and remember. They kept the dream alive in my head and strengthened my resolve each day. They made it seem possible for I had not thought it so before then!And then one day I went! To Tanzania AND Kenya- we popped into the Maasai Mara whilst in the Serengeti- Now, my giraffes remind me that dreams require action, however small, that they are possible and that I’ve seen giraffes ( and lions, and elephants, and hippos, and hyenas, and leopards, and warthogs) and a million other amazing creatures, in the wild and it was amazing.

How would I describe my daughter? Pure love. She’s fierce in her love and open and honest about it. She was born that way and twenty years later, she’s still that way. My girl painted this for me when she was 10 years old and every time I see it I feel loved. I’m also reminded TO LOVE, greater and wider then I have before. My girl inspires me to be a better person and taught me more than I ever could have learned on my own. She says she’s the way she is because of me but I say I’m the way I am because of her!

I used to do this on New Years Eve but have since changed it to my birthday. What is this? I collect notes to myself, receipts from fun times and such, quotes, things I’ve learned, experiences I’ve had and pop them into this FABULOUS bottle I found at Home Sense for twenty bucks. THEN, once a year, I dump them all out and read them. It’s a fun little exercise that shows me just how cool my life really is, how much I’m grown, what I’ve learned and how lucky I am. I highly recommend it!

So that’s that. A few of my favourite things. What is your absolute favourite thing? Why?

C Is For *Camping. A-Z Challenge.


I bought this mug the other day and its sitting on my kitchen shelf, calling to me. ” Fill me with booze”

I’m a teetotaller for most of the year but when camping season comes around, I spend my weekends sitting sideways in a plastic Adirondack chair, having a little drinkie poo out of a coffee mug.

I guess its a good thing, I can only camp and sit outside comfortably for a few months out of the year! I do other things whilst camping too though!

What other things? I like to go for early morning hikes in my nightie, leggings and hoody.

I like to take naps. I like to eat ALL THE THINGS. My favourite thing being, fajitas cooked over the fire.

^Not fajitas but still good! Yes, that’s one meal. For me. One person. Camping requires great sustenance.

I like to walk through the campground and snoop on my neighbours. I play Spot the Airstream and dream of the day when one is MINE, ALL MINE!

I like to drag my Hubs on hikes and walk through mud puddles in my bare feet because I only ever hike in flip flops while camping.

We both like to ride our bikes like hooligans through the trails and pretend we’re hardcore mountain bikers. Hey! We’ve got mud on our bikes, true story.

I like to take photos of EVERYTHING.

I like waking up to absolute silence as the morning light shines into the trailer feeling so grateful to be wherever I am.

I like sitting on a bench watching the water if I’m near a lake and hoping that a bear or a wolf saunters down for a drink. It hasn’t happened yet but it will. I’m sure of it 🙂

I like to listen as the birds start their song and the campers wake up to start their fires and brew their coffee and fry their bacon.

I love planning out our recipes, and scrolling Pinterest for new tips and tricks.

I love all the new dogs I meet and the kids that race around like maniacs. FREEDOM!

My first camping trip was with a friend as a child. I was so grateful to be invited (camping was not done in my family) and that one experience set off a hunger and appreciation inside me that has never left.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Besides that pivitol first trip- where I roamed like a wild child for three days- my most memorable trips have both been in Tofino,BC.

On the first, I was sleeping on the beach and a cougar woke me up for a staring contest in the night. *shiver!

On the second one we were visited by Ravens who left their footprints all over our mist dampened towels and a Bear, stroked my head with it’s body as it walked past my tent.

How lucky am I? I’ve experienced the coolest things! ❤

My worst trip was the night it rained dumpsters as opposed to buckets and I forgot 1. the frying pan. 2. the tarps.

Did I tell you it was during the middle of a thunder storm and the kids and I were trapped in the tent while the Hubs (who is not a fan to begin with) went to purchase said forgotten items? The lightening would snap and crackle and boom away above us while my 3 year old whispered “I’m scared”.

Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

It was wet and damp the WHOLE time ( we were at Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, BC amongst the tall shady trees ) and my daughter peed her bed, soaking it further the very next night. Abort. Abort. Abort!

Nowadays, we’re in a trailer (so much better. I don’t care what anyone says. It IS SO real camping) and the comfort level is much higher. I spend most of my time out by the fire anyway.

I could and do spend hours just sitting there, thinking and drinking. Talking and laughing. Staring at the fire. I love chopping wood and slicing kindling. I love experimenting with different fire methods and keeping my survival skills sharp. My Hubs and I even “fight” over who gets to make the fire, we love it that much. Ha Ha!

I had big plans to restore the Hoopty- our 1983 Vanguard- but now I think we’re going to sell the crapper to our son in law and buy something a little newer and start fresh. Or maybe the camping Goddess will gift me with a decent Airstream to focus on…only time will tell. In the meantime you will always find me wandering the woods or cradling a naughty coffee cup in my chair 🙂

Do you like camping? What was your most memorable- good or bad- camping trip?!


Best of March!

OK! March flew past, so fast! I think the awesome warm up we all experienced in Edmonton really helped with that. One minute it was Winter and then next it was Spring! Things have since leveled out and it seems we’re back to average now. We still have to go through Second Winter but then we’re home trees.*

The best overall experience:

Blurry Coffin.

The End of Life Care Doula course I took, through Douglas Collage at NAIT. It was an inspiring, empowering, life altering experience. It was interesting to go as an adult learner and see what a difference that makes in an educational experience. I learned so much, not only about the subject matter but about myself and other humans as well. Well worth the money-I traded a trip for the course!- and time spent.

Best four year old:

Miss Sassafras.

This girl was so sweet, offering to bring me her friends since I don’t have any of my own. When I asked her why she thought I didn’t have any friends she said it’s because I’m always alone. Ha! She “bought” Grandpa and myself a bath bomb each and asked me to scrape the ice cream out the cone so she could eat it plain. And guess what? I totally did it! 🙂

Best baby:

Mr. O didn’t get into any of my stuff this time! He did take his diaper off during naptime which is why he’s in the tub. He also … took six big steps! Three in front of me and three more so Grandpa could see. He seems to like me better now, reaching for me and smiling at me more. Not such a Grandpa’s boy anymore. Suck it Grandpa! 😉

Best of things we celebrate just to eat the food:

This doesn’t look like much but it was GOOOOOOD! I made Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day. I used garlic-y kale this time and it was so much better than with cabbage. Plop some peas on top and stick a sausage in the side and you’ve got yourself a tasty meal.

Best dessert:

Raspberry Rhubarb Custard Pie

Another thing that doesn’t look that great but tasted fantastic. So tart and creamy. My Hubs had one slice and I ate the rest. I REGRET NOTHING!!! No recipe, I mashed two together to rig up my own. Google “Custard Pies” and see what you come up with.

Best IDGAF meal:

Seven Layer Dip n Chips! This was after being in school for a week. It was an exciting, exhausting time PLUS I was trying to process an incident that happened that still has me perplexed. People are so strange…would you seriously just plow through your teacher like you were a bowling ball and she was a bowling pin and then say absolutely nothing? Yeah, me either. It was so fucking weird…anyway, this dinner wasn’t weird. It was delicious! Does anybody else just have chips and dip for dinner?

Best times with friends:

I have a number of those! My bestie took me out for breakfast and then we went antiquing. We went to Hathaway’s Diner and WOW, I was blown away. Service was sincere, friendly and efficient and the food was homemade with love and great care. I didn’t take pictures because I was too busy eating but trust me, go! I highly recommend.

Then this:

I’m playing school bus driver! Another friend picked me up in her gigantic school bus and we went for coffee. It was such a hoot! She just learned how to drive the thing and she does amazing. They use her bus to train other drivers because she keeps it in such good shape and has a lot of interesting things for the kids in her care. This friend of mine used to work with me at the daycare centre from hell and was the focus of some bullshit. I’m super, super happy for her that she’s a. free from the nonsense and b. living her best life with her usual care and integrity. She totally deserves it!

Best book:

I’ve read 14 books as I write this. I’ll probably finish one more before the end of the month. Not too shabby!

The best one?

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The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row. by Anthony Ray Hinton. This dude was wrongfully, unlawfully and racially convicted of a murder he did not commit and placed on death row. The state did everything they could to block his appeals and kill him even though it was SO obvious he was innocent. They would rather let an innocent man DIE than admit they were wrong. This book tells his story. It will enrage you. It SHOULD enrage you! It was a really good read too. Well written, honest, heartfelt and humane.

There is so much scripting of our lives, here on the old interweb SO just to keep things real I bring you this:

“Best” conflict or shitty thing:

A family dinner with a former girlfriend and a new girlfriend. Things didn’t go so well, and I was forced into making a choice that did not please all parties. I absolutely made the right choice, based in love for all and integrity and people made their own choices but still, it was a new experience for all of us and it was a wee bit tricky to navigate! How would you handle something like that?

This will be the last “normal” post for a WHOLE month, as on Monday I start the Blogging from A-Z Challenge. My posts won’t really change all that month, same type of content, different prompts. Prompts being the letters of the alphabet. It’ll be fun! See ya Monday!

*PS: Bonus points if you know where “home trees” comes from!

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver, prize winning poet, died this past Thursday, January 17, 2019. She was 83 years old.

I adored her work. I often wondered how she got into my head and pulled out the very thing I needed to hear. The very thing that would make my heart sing. It was like she wrote poems just for me.