Saturday, December 19, 2015

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I have a love/hate relationship with decorating the Christmas tree each year. I love how it looks when it's done, but I do not enjoy the process. Usually.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sleep Study

I feel pretty, oh, so pretty!
All wired up so the experts can analyze what goes on while I sleep.
Last night, I went to the hospital for my third sleep study. When I shared the picture of me with wires and tape and canulas draped all over me, people wondered how anyone could sleep with all that junk on them. A fair question. But the real challenge turned out to be the room temperature, not the myriad of wires.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Move along, Li'l Miss Snoop.

Snoop, or as I nicknamed her: Li'l Miss Snoop
That picture was taken the very first day Snoop was with us. Today, I made the decision to move her on to another foster home.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Dear Teachers

Dear teachers,

I'd like to talk for a moment about how much tougher your job is than other professional work, how you are underpaid, and, especially, how you "deserve" your summers off.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Blurry photo, but it's the best I could do. There was absolutely no way of getting Snoopy into the picture with them.
We currently have two foster dogs, Rex and Snoopy, as well as our furever dog, Kane, and our cat, Elly. The transition of adding members to our home has been very reminiscent of bringing home a new baby: a little bit of a learning curve for all involved.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Dog Adoption

Poor Rex

Despite all the best hopes and wishes, Rex's adoption has fallen through. Less than one hour with the family was enough to tell them that he was not a good fit. But they regrouped and made it through the night. In the morning, they reached a difficult conclusion that they would have to give Rex up.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fostering a dog is not the same as dog-sitting.

This is Mabel. She needs a home.
If you're interested in adopting her, contact
Mabel, above, and our foster-dog Rex are perfect examples of how fostering a dog is considerably different from dog-sitting. Let me explain.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Imagine, If You Will

This picture has nothing to do with this post. But the post is a bit of a downer, so I figure you might need a kitten.

I want to help you develop your compassion. I know you have some -- you share gut-wrenching stories of helpless animals, veterans, disabled people. But with the next breath you share a post about how we don't "owe" anyone anything, that people in need are not "entitled" to support.

I'm guessing that you have at least average intelligence (IQ between 85 and 115) and that your household earns an average income ($76,510 in Ontario). You are probably not aware that this means half of the people around you have lower IQ than you, and half of the households learn less -- even far less -- than that.

Further, I'm guessing you grew up in a family that celebrated birthdays and seasonal feasts, that you have taken a vacation at least once in your life. You have some post-secondary education for which you did not have to go into deep debt, either because of scholarships or family help.

You were not orphaned at a young age or placed in foster care. You did not drop out of school because you were unable to read by age 14 and there was no one to diagnose or support a learning disability. You do not have trouble understanding online instructions and application forms. You did not get fired from job after job because you failed to live up to your potential when learning disabilities got in the way of performance.

You have never been so neglected or abused that the first time you ever felt happy was when you did crack for the first time. And you spent the next decade trying to kick the habit.

You do not have to choose between going to work or leaving your six-year-old home alone because you can't afford childcare. You do not wake up in the wee hours flashing back to the rape. You don't have to choose between going to work or going to your desperately-needed (free, if you're lucky and don't mind the two-year waiting list) therapy appointment to help deal with PTSD or mental illness.

You have not had to leave everything you own in order to escape an abusive relationship. You have not made the choice to go on welfare so you can finally have that abscessed tooth yanked, which you could not afford to do on minimum wage even working two part-time jobs (because neither offers supplemental health benefits).

You haven't had to lie to your child's teacher that your child was sick the day of the class field trip, when really you couldn't afford the $10 fee. You haven't pretended to forget about the list of things your child is required to bring on the first day of school, when really you just couldn't afford the $40. You haven't done your child's back-to-school shopping at Value Village, hoping that the clothes would make it through the school year and wouldn't look too second-hand.

You haven't had to do this for years in a row, to the point that you feel defeated every August.

You haven't sold the last remaining thing you inherited from your mother so that you could feed your children. You haven't woken at three in the morning to work a second job so that you could pay the mortgage and feed the children. You haven't made pancakes for dinner six nights in a row because all you had left in the house was flour and eggs.

You probably have a "positive attitude" and do well in job interviews. You are likable. You don't stammer or say awkward things or have sweaty palms and avoid eye contact because that makes you profoundly uncomfortable. You don't get turned away from "McJobs" because you "don't fit in" even though you look "normal."

You've never had to choose between antibiotics for your baby's ear infection and food for the family.

You've never had to figure out how you'll gather the deposit to rent an apartment in a nicer neighbourhood so your kid can go to a better school and hang out with other kids who are a better influence.

I do not doubt that there are people who "milk the system," but for every one of those there are one hundred who are doing their absolute best to keep body and soul together. They are parents. They are children.

There are a million reasons why people need social assistance, some for a short period to help them over a hump, others for a much longer time because the problems they have are not transient. Those of us who have the blessings of health, education, intelligence, and, yes, wealth, should be ashamed to show anything less than compassion for those who need our support.

You, my friend, are the one who seems to feel entitled.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

New Mother

The last time I routinely saw sunrise was when my children were infants, their biological needs trumping any night-owl tendencies I had. With a six-month-old puppy in the house, the same is true.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Back to Reality

View across a lake toward Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
This panoramic picture is actually made up of about 14 vertical photographs combined.
Earlier in October, Steve and I took a mid-week break and went to Mont-Tremblant. We had some serious stuff on our itinerary, but we also wanted to get in some really good (and easy) hiking with Kane.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

As Different as Black and White

Rex on left; Kane on right.

As a parent, one of the first things you learn with your second child is that, oh my god, each of them is beyond unique. They may come from the same end of the gene pool, but the differences can be profound. How much more dramatic are the differences when they aren't even siblings! The same is true of dogs, of course. Each is unique. Here are the things we've quickly discovered about Kane, our forever dog, and Rex, our foster dog.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Meet Rex, the Cowering King

Rex, whose name means "king."
One of the many things Stephen and I discussed during our retreat was that I would really like to have another dog. But, as finances were also on our agenda, we both knew that we really couldn't afford one. Even healthy, young dogs have vet bills, toys, equipment, dog walkers and boarders when we travel, etc. It adds up.

Don't we sound just like a couple discussing having another baby?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Working It

Photo by Cathy Walters Photography. If you live in Colorado Springs, look her up.
Every time I hear couples (celebrities, for the most part) talking about how "marriage is work," I want to run around behind them saying, "No! It's not! It's rewarding!" Because they make it sound like a prison sentence. Having said that, I have to agree: all the best things in life require some effort on your part. Marriage included.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Curb Appeal

Approximately one foot between the tires and the edge of the driveway. 
Last winter, a friend dropped me off at our house and I almost slid under the wheels of his car because there was so little space between the car and the snowbank, given our narrow driveway. So this year, as his summer project, Stephen has built a landing and stairs in our front yard.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

"Sassy Sally Alley" from the Neon Boneyard, Las Vegas. Photo credit: Paul Gorbould
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sleep at Last

My husband and light of my life, Stephen, is able to fall asleep (most nights) within about three minutes of his head hitting the pillow. On the other hand, until recently, I routinely tossed and turned for literally hours. At least once a week I just gave up and went downstairs to read.

Recently, however, I have discovered a trick that works for me and might just help my fellow sleep-impaired friends.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Room of One's Own

My space (I need to get a picture of our dog Kane up there).
For the past six months we have had two bedrooms in our four-bedroom house that have been little more than storage areas (and we all know what happens to storage rooms). So, following my adventure at writing camp this summer and inspired by my friend Shelley who just set up her home office, I decided to Get Serious About Writing and convert one of those rooms to my very own space for writing and other forms of "work" and creativity.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More Useful Thingies

The icon for the Health app on the iPhone
A while ago I shared some apps and websites that I've found really helpful. The good news is that they have all helped me be more productive -- I hope some of you have found them useful as well. Today, I have a couple more to share with you.

The first one could save your life; the second could save you time or stress.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Citrus-Mango Salad for a Hot Day

(The tomato is hiding.)

Hot, sticky weather like this calls for negligible cooking in the house.

This hot spell is killing me. Today the thermometer read 32 degrees Celsius in the shade. IN THE SHADE! And that doesn't even account for humidity. So there was no way I was about to fry, roast, or simmer anything in the kitchen, which leaves: grilling and salad.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

Photo by Tony Luciani, entitled "Internal Reflection"
Of it, the Canadian artist says, "Dementia tears you in half.
Both are her and of her, many years apart, but together in her mind."
See more of his art and an interview on SLR Lounge.
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

Jane Long takes old photos and creates beautiful, fantastical composites.
Hat tip to Kylee-Anne; seen at MyModernMet.
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Of impulse shopping and miscommunication

A 20-year-old two-person hot tub
What do you do if you and your husband accidentally get a huge bargain on a hot tub that neither of you wants? Here's the story.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland
More reasons why Scotland needs to be on our vacation bucket list on EarthPorm
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

All Dried Up

My pharmacopoeia
The good news is: I have access to excellent health care and can afford the medications I need to help me live as well as I can for as long as I can. The bad news: side effects.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dorothea and Francisco: A Fairy Tale

Lavender harvest
The first bit of fiction to share with you since the writing camp I attended in July 2015, with Gail Anderson-Dargatz.

     Once upon a time, there was a maiden named Dorothea. She came from a family that was not wealthy, but was hard-working and lived comfortably. When she was very young, she had had a charming prettiness, but as she grew to be a young woman, her mother saw that her beauty was radiant and felt that Dorothea was in danger and so convinced her that she was unlovely and unlovable. Each day that Dorothea looked in the mirror, she heard her mother's words, and her reflection changed so that her hair lost its silky curl and became dull, her skin flaked with dryness and had no colour, and her eyes became cold and hard. In time, she herself said the words, "I am unlovely and unlovable," and looked in the mirror to see hair like broomstraw, skin rough and patchy and eyes that pierced the soul.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

Amazing photos of mountains of water by Ray Collins.
Found on LifeBuzz (Thanks, Margot!)
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

More dogs than you can shake a stick at.

Kane in the back seat, on our way to the Kingston Sheep Dog Trials. 

Every August there is a Sheep Dog Trial held just outside of Kingston at Grass Creek Park, and most years (even when we didn't have a dog), we've tried to make it there.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Have you been published?

Recently, the hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter went viral on Twitter. I read a selection of the tweets in the CBC Books article, and laughed and laughed and laughed. Oh, how I laughed. I even shared the link on Facebook along with a comment that there should be a parallel hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAPhotographer.

And then, the next day, someone who was interested to hear that I'd attended a writing camp asked "So, have you been published?" and I laughed again before answering.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow looks like something out of a Roald Dahl book.
Bird's-eye view panoramic photography by Sergey Semenov
See more of his work on his website
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A punny thing happened . . .

Gail Anderson-Dargatz (a.k.a. Gail Krupp) with me at the Providence Bay Writers' Camp.
Writers are very fun -- and funny -- people.

I loved loved loved my week at writers' camp. We had so much laughter around that table! But the greatest surprise of the entire week was what happened on our last evening together when I lobbed a gentle pun to my classmates (six other writers and our teacher) as we lounged on the patio before doing our public readings (eek!).

Monday, August 3, 2015

Tech Tools to Love

Productivity does not just happen. You have to make it happen. | Wynn Anne's Meanderings

Perhaps the greatest pleasure of retirement has been the ability to do things (for the most part) when I feel like it, when the mood strikes. The greatest pitfall of retirement, however, is the ability to procrastinate so long that nothing gets done because I'm too busy waiting for the mood to strike. Today, I'm sharing a couple of tools to help you -- whether you're retired or not! -- avoid procrastination and become more productive.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

This is not man-made. It is a "fairy stone" formed by glacial concretions. See more of them at SpiritRock Shop.
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Accidental Photography Expedition

Putting on the collar. (I'm in love with that little flick of his tongue.)

When I signed up for the Providence Bay Writers' Camp, I learned that the gorgeous photos on Gail Anderson-Dargatz's website (go take a look; I'll still be here when you come back) were all taken by her husband Mitch Krupp, many of them taken on Manitoulin Island. So I knew I had to bring my camera with me.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Apprentice Classics

Six participants in the Providence Bay Writers' Camp stand before a waterfall.
Most of the group at the 2015 Providence Bay Writers' Camp:
Mark, Wynn Anne, Gail, Dianne, Sonal, and Rosanna. Missing: Meg and Chantal 
Shortly after I retired in December 2013, I looked for ways to nurture my interest in writing fiction. At that time, Gail Anderson-Dargatz was offering novel mentorships -- something for which I was not ready (I'm still not). In February 2015, however, she announced a one-week writers' camp to take place in August on Manitoulin Island. This was right up my alley: immersion in writing and a great vacation all in one. I'll write about the vacation part in another post; for now, I'll tell you about the writing class.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

Look again. It's a Swiss bunker. See more pictures here.
(I probably walked by one of these when I visited my sister in fall 2014.) 

Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mudslinging and Wordcraft

Dianne's hands

Don't you love it when travel and learning and experience collude to make a good experience excellent? That's what's happening to me this week.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Down-side of Training a Large Dog (Updated)

Don't let those puppy-dog eyes fool you. 
I had a rough day of training our dog Kane last week. He's come a very long way from those early days when he spun me in circles and dragged me to the ground, but just in case I thought he was 'so over that', he gave me a little refresher course in An Excited Dog is a Powerful, Wild Beast 101.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Grammar Ninja: Encyclopedias and Babies

Don't be deceived by my radio silence, my grammar-loving friends. Grammar Ninja is alive and well and biting her tongue on a regular basis. Today's rant is short & sweet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Well, I'll be.

I love this counter top even more now! 
Have you ever had something that you really liked a lot and then found out it was even better than you'd first realized? That's what has happened with our counter top.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

It's stinking hot outside, so here's a picture to bring a little reminder of how it could be: winter on Mount Washington, NH, which experiences "extreme cold, year-round snowfall, dense fog, heavy icing, and exceptional winds are some of Mount Washington's prominent features. The peak isn’t terribly high either — just 6,288 feet — yet it endures some of the planet’s most extreme weather comparable to those experienced on top of Mount Everest or on the South Pole." Read and see more here.

Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Feed me, Seymour!

Poor Audrey II (the voracious blood-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors). I completely identify with her/his appetite. Mine is insatiable. Truly. I can -- and have eaten a full turkey dinner with all the fixings while nursing an infected throat and then, half an hour later, wolfed down pie à la mode.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Skin Deep

February 2015 | The yellow tinge in this photo is because of the lighting, not because of the make up.
On a whim, I decided to have my make-up done professionally for Valentine's day this year. It was eye-opening in two ways.

1. I always thought I was pretty good at doing my own make-up, but I had room for improvement. (I now pay more attention to my eye brows.)
2. My eyes really 'popped' with the techniques a professional used.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Six Things I Can't Live Without

This post is about 'things' I can't live without. If it were about 'people' these five would top the list. 

This is such a "first-world problems" post, but I figure if it's good enough for Reese Witherspoon, it's good enough for me, so here goes. (These are not necessarily in order of priority.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

Check out more hauntingly photoshopped illustrations by Karezoid Michal Karcz on 500px. 

Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Celebrate without ceasing!

Birthday date, June 22!
June is just one long series of celebrations around our house, or at least it was this year. Here's the month, in pictures.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dorothy's Choice

During my visit with my mother in April 2015.
There is one conversation I had with my mother that I would like to share -- one we had while she was in hospital, and that I have reflected on since then.

After I'd first greeted her, she made a comment that seemed a non sequitur: "You've never lived alone, have you Wynn Anne?"

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Big Reveal

Clematis and salvia from our garden.
I'm seriously contemplating having this picture printed to hang in the dining room.
Done. The kitchen is done. Done like dinner -- never was that phrase more appropriately used, I think. Let me show you the glory that is now my kitchen.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The More the Merrier

My family, on our front lawn, circa 1979.
I grew up with four brothers and two sisters. These are full siblings, no blended families, no multiples, and, no, we weren't Catholic or part of the "quiverful" movement (which didn't even exist back then).

My parents were just . . . very productive. (Yay for that work ethic!)

Growing up as the second-youngest in a big family certainly has its pluses and minuses. Here are just a few.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Oh, Interwebs!

That is not glass; it is candy. See more here.
(Hat tip to Amusing Planet.)
Welcome to my periodic round-up of things I've found online that make me smile, cry, laugh, think, shout, or drop my jaw. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Update on My Mother

Photo from March 2012: me, my mother, her husband
I haven't written about my mother's health since visited her while she was still in hospital following her "silent heart attack." But a few of you have asked about her, so I thought I'd give a little update.

Monday, June 15, 2015


We all learned this one in kindergarten, right? And yet, I've had to relearn it, at least when it comes to family. More specifically: my mother, here on this blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Leave your ego at the door.

Potential cover for the possible novel I may or may not be writing. 
A while ago, I told you about an incredible opportunity I was taking to learn more about writing fiction. A one-week "writers' camp" led by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. It's mere weeks away now, and I'm getting nervous.

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