Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Bright Sides?

Not to be all "gratitude list" about it, because nothing is more annoying when you're wound up and in a funk at the same time to be told, "make a gratitude list," but. Okay, this is maybe a little gratitude-y. 

September has brought, shall we say, challenges, and in learning to meet them, I have been deliberately looking for bright sides. 

* The "active words on a page" part of writing my new novel had to take a back seat in September. In the rest of life, we had problems. They needed solutions. We also had situations--things that existed but over which we had no control and thus couldn't solve. Sorting it all out meant fractured sleep and focus and concentration. That meant few words. 

Bright side: the novel was still there. Occasionally I'd stop at my open notebook and write down something, and when I went back to look recently, all of the notes made sense. (!!!) Apparently I was continuing to work on my novel all that time. I'm sitting down regularly again, with renewed focus and some answers I didn't know before. Also new questions, but hey, that's writing. 

*  We have a mostly new system for getting water into the house. It has cost money, nervousness (mine), time, and it caused the fractured sleep etc. mentioned above. 

Bright side: Going into winter, we are ready to receive all the water the well can provide. That's the best possible place to be. Bonus: With low water in this region this year, I've considered many difficult possible future scenarios and have mapped out strategies. I feel as prepared as I can. 

Bright side, part deux: Taking responsibility for something and learning about it--that whole demystifying thing--actually relieved my anxiety. It [waves hands around] just is. This is reality; I'm dealing with it. Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal to you, but I have a long history of being really good at denial and positively excellent at inertia, so it is to me. 

Bright side, next generation: We are slowly assembling a team of workers who have been in this house and fixed things. I've had the chance to see them work. I love to see an expert figuring out what part of a system is on the blink. They're "just there to do a job" but when they enjoy what they do, they feel good about fixing the thing, and that's a nice vibe to have in this house. It raises a new question: how can I share that vibe "out there" in the rest of the world?

Bright side, a new hope: I have started writing things down, including who came, when, what they did, and how much water our well gives every day. These are not things I thought I'd care about, to say nothing of tracking them. (This is the type of tracking I used to laugh at my dear departed father, bless his heart, for: he kept daily logs about car mileage and fuel efficiency in different colours, after he was widowed and drove mostly to the post office, to the American Legion for steak dinners on Thursday, and to the church for meetings.) And these lists are so helpful. 

I guess that's it for now. More bright sides are lurking out there, somewhere--something about the nature of relationships, and how they're not transactional except when they are--but I haven't sorted them out yet. 

Meanwhile, thanks for your challenges, September. And hi there, October.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Writing--for publication, anyway--involves a lot of waiting.* You wait for pitches and finished pieces to be accepted or rejected. You wait to hear from editors. You wait for your words to appear in print/online. 

Waiting for the sun to rise.

Regular life apparently involves a lot of waiting too--even when you can schedule appointments and aren't hanging around to hear by text or phone (or when you give out your cell number more frequently than we do). I have two appointments still looming this month (one fun, one not so much but worthy), and even though they aren't today's problems, I feel their weight.  

Of course, it's possible to do things while you wait. 

Yesterday, while waiting, I had a cavity filled and learned how to resize a graphic in Canva. Monday, I watched a knowledgeable expert fix the washing machine. For several previous weeks, I've produced and revised words. 

The past couple of weeks have been full of mechanical things. I've asked many other experts for help, and although some of them are prompt in returning my woe-filled 2 AM emails, others aren't. Nevertheless, we have, for a limited time, ability to put water into our storage tank, and we know a few things that are wrong with our water system. Because of waiting, and because of doing things while we wait.  

Things like finally figuring out how to recycle and/or responsibly dispose of expired medications (ask your pharmacist; it's not that hard!). Things like finally culling books from shelves that have been inconvenient to access, and getting rid of an entire bookshelf's worth! 

But we're still waiting on semi-permanent fixes for many of these mechanical things. I'm looking at some requested revisions, running numbers, finishing things up as autumn approaches. 

But yes: autumn is approaching! And I'm getting less patient with the waiting. 

However, I've learned that doing things while I wait is its own reward. Things get done. I'm going now to do more. While waiting.  


* Also rejection, but this is about waiting.   

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

August’s Gusts Gone

Below are a few of the things I’ve been pondering this August.


New glasses do make a difference in how and what I see, and that changes my outlook. So many things that I think of as metaphors are also literal.


Related: in an article about brain function by Max G. Levy in Wired, I read this astonishing sentence: “Every thought that crosses your mind has, literally, crossed your mind, as millions of neurons in different parts of the brain chatter with one another. “


Here's a link to the article:


It’s nice to be invited to participate in something professional.

Related: It’s interesting (to me) to do a retrospective of my work in a particular form over the past seven or so years. I could see where external events influenced decisions (and I’m glad I made the choices I did), and I could also see where I began to push myself to develop skills I hadn’t had before. 


Waiting two years between dental cleanings is not a great idea. However, waiting two years makes the subsequent cleaning into, roughly, the tooth equivalent of having GoCleanCo do your house. Or so I imagine.

Seriously: Follow GoCleanCo on Instagram ( and prepare to be impressed by the hard work of cleaning houses. It’s reassuring to know that everybody has to scrub—crud doesn’t magically disappear for other people and not me.

And thinking of cleaning as “caring for your stuff” is thought-provoking. What stuff do I really want to keep clean? What stuff makes me wonder, “Why do I have this?” as I dust it? Good questions, especially as seasons change.


Also: I’ve been a fan of Ontario peaches for, ahem, decades. This year, I also found the nectarines. Holy Toledo, are they ever good. Almost makes up for missing out on wild blueberries, due to drought.


Speaking of changing seasons, it’s time for a few changes. I’ve enjoyed writing weekly here for several years. I’m scaling back—twice a month, plus I’ll pop in (as the influencers say) with news should any transpire. I am more active, for the present, on Instagram, so for more about my reading life, catch up with me there.

Meanwhile, thanks, August, for these ponderables. And welcome, September!