Wandering day

I took my notebooks, a bottle of water and my swimming stuff and I had a wandering day yesterday. Then I went with my girlfriends to swim in Meech Lake.

I headed out under cloudy skies, generally hoping I had enough time to do what I wanted to do. I walked out of my neighbourhood, across the experimental farm area nearby and went to the Arboretum. It is filled with exotic, aged trees.

I stopped by a few of my favourite trees. This one is a Bebb’s oak, and it looks like the English oak that is behind me here, except different.

An acorn from the same tree. They had been doing some trimming (as evidenced by the piles in the previous photo). I sat under the tree, just enjoying the quiet and listening, feeling, and breathing. It’s a lovely old oak. One of its branches is currently being held up by a support.

I circled through the other oaks nearby, and slid my hands over the gorgeous, muscular trunks and smooth bark of the American beech trees. They needed a hug because they are scarred with someone’s carved true love declaration.

Sitting under a different, big oak tree, looking back across the field I crossed, towards the ridge with the oak and beech trees I’d just visited. This one didn’t have a sign to tell its species, but it had “hairy” acorns. It also had been trimmed, and looked like it might be suffering from a blight of some sort.

A family was playing in the field behind me. The kids were trying to roll down the hill, but the hill was pretty steep, so I think it was resulting in injuries rather than fun…

I didn’t feel like writing yet, so I kept going. I was also trekking to my friend’s house where we were going to meet to head up to the lake.

I passed by willows and crabapples, now laden with tiny reddening apples. I passed through the hawthorns, and pressed my thumb against the sharp new three inch thorn at the end of the branch I passed, admiring its strength. Tiny yellowish hawthorn berries hid behind the thorns.

Eventually, I headed back out into humanity again. Walking along the boardwalk and then up onto the shared use pathway, I stopped for a rest and another drink of water on the other side of the lake.

Looking at the Arboretum across Dow’s Lake, from another bench, this time under some pine trees.

I followed the Canal to Bank Street and then turned north to get to my friend’s house fifteen minutes before the badass ladies arrived. I had wandered for slightly more than 9.5 km.

Then we continued north, making great time to get to the beach. We swam out to a rocky prominence and “hauled out” to sit and chat in the sun. Which led to us not being super keen on jumping back in the not-super-warm lake to swim back. But we made it. I ended up sitting in the shallow water near the beach for a bit longer, warming up, after we swam back. I plotted it out just now and we swam about 707 metres.

We stopped for a lovely meal at a new restaurant in Chelsea – Tante Carole. The food flavours were really well architected. I started with the Caesar salad with crispy smelts, and then had the fish of the day – a steelhead trout filet, pan fried, with baby potatoes, pattypan squash and zucchini. My friends shared the foie gras appetizer, and one had the striploin steak with root veggies, and the other also had the fish. We all shared the chocolate cake with chocolate mousse, honey whipped cream, fresh berries and Concord grapes, with raspberry and beet coulis. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. They also made a wicked spicy Caesar.

It was a wonderful day, exactly the sort of thing that the creative spirit needs. However, I am a bit achey today. ;)

Ah, irony

I just opened a fortune cookie – the final step of my lunch that I ate about half an hour ago, and received this fortune (doubled, because the same message was stuffed in the one cookie twice):

Each moment should be treasured.

As I was just mentally preparing my blog post for today. Indeed, fortune cookie. Each moment *should* be treasured. So let’s unpack the moments I was about to relate.

I just popped over to try a “new” Viet-Thai restaurant that opened up not far from my house. I was feeling like having some deep fried vegetarian spring rolls, so I figured today was as good a day as any to try them out.

I walked in the door late in the lunch hour and there are a total of four customers, all older men. The lady seats me at the front of the restaurant, in the window, beside two of these customers.

Planning on doing a bit of writing while enjoying my lunch, I get out my book. I had forgotten my pencil somewhere, so I used a pen instead (I usually use pencil because then I can erase if I want to change something, rather than scratching it out). I ordered my veggie spring rolls and a shrimp pad thai, because their pho is all meat based. *sigh*

And so I try to concentrate on my storyline, where did I leave my character, how she will overcome what she just endured, that sort of thing.

But these two customers beside me, two old goats, are bleating on about this and that. The first about how he’s trying to game his “Woman. Lawyer. *knowing look*” neighbour because their shared retaining wall has to be fixed (hers, obviously, because of when each of their houses were built, although she can’t figure this out because she’s a woman, clearly).

<bawk bawk bawk>

My food arrives quickly, and I don’t have a chance to write down three lines, so I set my book aside and focus on my bloody hot spring rolls straight from the deep fryer. They’re alright, although I never understand why potatoes are included in the filling. Then my pad thai arrives before I finish eating my last bite, so no writing will happen now. It is also just alright. I try a bit of fish sauce on it, and slightly improve the one spot so I put more on, and promptly ruin it by making it too salty. Dang.

All the while, I’m learning that the second fellow’s upstairs neighbour has an alternative lifestyle that results in his not getting up until 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and moving furniture around at inappropriate o’clock at night, which makes his doesn’t-have-a-licence-so-she-doesn’t-drive wife angry. So he said that this is the last time he’ll be politely asking the fellow to be more considerate of others, and then it’s going to get real. And maybe the upstairs neighbour should change his meds if he can’t function like a real person.


Next they’re discussing lawn care, and the first old goat is talking again about his “Women. Lawyer. *knowing look*” neighbour and how he takes care of this triangle shaped sliver of no-man’s land between their properties, and how she went and stuck her garbage on it, enraging him. And how he waited until she left to get out his tape measure and figure out where his property line goes, because he doesn’t have an actual survey to refer to. But he had to do it when she wasn’t there, because, well now, he didn’t want to tip her off, and she works from home.

The second fellow, who clearly lives in a condo or some kind of apartment building, has taken it upon himself to do the lawn care and snow clearing for the building, so he’s looking for a broken snowblower of the same model he has so he can salvage parts from it, or he wants a specific chain drive new model. And I think, or you could let your landlord handle that and you wouldn’t have to worry about any of it… Or about submitting receipts to him so he’ll pay you back for doing it…

<bawk bawk bawk>

So, I’m finished my food and still have about half a pot of tea left and a full glass of water. At last, a bit of a chill moment with empty hands, so I can write and enjoy my beverages before I toddle home (to more noise because of construction two doors down from me, and the property manager doing renovations today on the empty basement apartment in our building).


Then the old goats start to talk politics and the election. And how proportional representation would be awful because then we’d be in a situation like Greece.


I feel like leaning over and explaining that it’s not proportional representation that’s the problem in Greece… For example, there is this. As well as issues with people actually paying taxes and whatnot… But I don’t, and they continue.

<bawk bawk bawk>

And I just frankly don’t want to hear it. So instead of chilling in the restaurant, I get up to go.

The second fellow kind of notices this, I think, and he mentions to his friend as I’m packing up that he had been having a good day until they started talking about politics.


At any rate, I’m not going to go back to that restaurant. I really miss Taste Ramen + Fusion, where I could go, get great tofu dishes, sit in a quiet (or noisy) space (just far enough away from other conversations that it didn’t matter) and write during my lunch hour.

Let’s examine what I can treasure from these moments. I learned a few things, including barking your opinion in public as an older adult just makes you look foolish and opinionated. I didn’t like that restaurant’s food. And that there are sexist jerks living in my area. Although the restaurant staff were very lovely. Oh, and the one server called me sir, and then corrected himself to miss/ma’am. Yeah…

I’m going to enjoy my home brewed pot of Harney and Sons peppermint tea now, put on some ambient music and write my next chapter. Then, I might prepare myself to paint this evening.

Scene almost complete 


Working in the studio/office this morning, drinking a pot of jasmine tea from my handmade lidded tea mug.

The scene is coming along slowly. I’m trying to adequately describe the terror, the bravery of moving forward while coated in cold sweat. It’s almost over, and then I can fast forward to the next scene where everyone is recovered from the ordeal, or recovered enough to continue.

Listening to Benedictine Monks chanting the Great Festivals of the church year in Latin. Listening to music that I don’t know the words to helps me focus. One of my favourite things to listen to while working is actually the music from World of Warcraft because it’s designed to be ambient.

Day 4 of writing 

Started my day doing morning pages with some dark red roses and red-orange gerberas, an organic earl grey tea, a cool breeze fluttering the curtains and the morning sun.

Today will partially be work on the unfinished novel and partially preparing a couple of the short stories for wander-writing by hand somewhere later this week; maybe a mixture of coffee shops, under trees and in restaurants nearby. Just so I don’t lose practice in seeing people other than my husband. ;) It has happened before…

Day 1 of writing

Although my leave started more than two weeks ago, it’s been a busy time since then. Plus I went away for a vacation to Prince Edward Island (which I will post about later, once I do some work on my pictures). So today is my first day sitting down to write. How exciting!

Unfortunately, it’s also very hot in Ottawa and we don’t have real air conditioning. But we have a little portable room air conditioner, that we’re currently asking to at least cool the bedroom, and we’re leaving the bedroom door open so the coolness oozes out into the rest of the apartment. Luckily the office is right beside the bedroom, so I have the fan blowing directly in the door, which feels pretty cooling.

So I’ve started my writing day by transferring a partially written short story from a moleskine into a word processing document and I’m going to expand upon it now. I have so many ideas…

I also have at least three paintings that need a little bit of paint on them, and a probably a fourth and fifth that I’m going to adjust since I’ve been looking at them up on the wall. :) Maybe even a sixth. Goodness!

I still don’t really feel like I’m really off for another month and a half. I guess it’s just hard for that to sink in. I am sure it’ll twig for me at some point. :)

Back to writing!

Eight wandering weeks

So, today is day 2 of my second round of leave from my job. 

The first time is what started this blog two years ago. And I am doing it again!

This time, I’m going to be on a slightly different adventure. I am going to travel – I’m heading to Prince Edward Island for a week with my mother and sister. But when I get back, I am going to be working. 

I’m going to treat fiction writing and painting like a full time job. I have several novels started and in various stages of development, and I want to try to get one done. I also have a bunch of short story ideas banging around the inside of my head, waiting for me to put pen to paper, or, at least, fingers to keyboard. I also have an entire library of paintings queued up in my head, waiting to be put on canvas. And one metal sculpture project that has been patiently waiting in a box to be realized.

I’m hoping to make these weeks juicy and creative and delicious. The morning routine I have imagined includes getting up with my alarm, doing a round of yoga, putting together a nice breakfast and some tea (coffee for my husband) and then heading into the office, or wherever my creative space will be that day, and writing. Or generally creating.

I may need some help to break away from social media for a bit because I have been on Facebook and Twitter a lot in the past while, but hopefully I will have the discipline to avoid them most of the time.

So, that’s my plan. I will post updates and share photos and such, especially if my creative space is inspiring or fun or interesting or… Whatever. :) I expect I’ll need to take walks and stretch every once in a while. Adventure!

Crab apples blushing in my neighbourhood.

More things I see when walking

A local restaurant recently closed down, but out in its back parking lot, behind the kitchen, it had two containers of herbs that they grew themselves and used in their dishes. I noticed this the other day when on my way to work that the dill had hopped the fence and was growing in the sidewalk crack. So I stopped to take this on the way home. Dill making a break for it.

I will be writing a substantive post in the coming days. :)