Good things (10)

New year, new leaf. Much gratitude.

  • Noteworthy reads: The Library Book, An Echo in the Bone, and Split Tooth
  • Work team at full capacity and I’ve reclaimed my regular hours
  • Jan 18: Jon & Roy concert on Bowen was fantastic — especially in combination with sibs, nachos, burgers, beer and apple pie à la mode 🙂
  • Jan 22: Happily ended work early, made some excellent stir-fry and polished it off with a heavenly bowl of popcorn and a movie
  • Babka on points today!

Adrift (11)

October 17: Dinner out in Japan

Dinner the last night at Kumi’s was delicious. I had sushi, soba, tempura and an Asahi beer 🙂 I’m not sure what the true ingredients or names for anything besides the beer were… But I tried sea urchin, whole ‘baby shrimp’, and roe and enjoyed them very much.

And the chairs were the cutest and comfiest I’ve sat in possibly ever!

Adrift (10)

October 17: Asakusa

We spent the day out with Kayoko, driving to Asakusa and visiting the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple and surrounding area on foot. We made our first stop at the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Centre, spending some time on the viewing deck to scan the surroundings and identify different attractions, landmarks and possible routes for further explorations.

The temple itself seemed huge to me, with beautiful statues and lanterns and a tremendous sense of warmth, honour and respect. I was surprised to find how accessible  the site was -and almost everything in Japan that I experienced- with easy to find elevators etc. Rather than accessibility being tagged on as an afterthought, it seemed like instead, it was just designed or integrated as much as possible for everybody to enjoy.

*Not like, for example, when Ruby and I went to tour the parliament buildings here in Canada and had to make quite a major detour and have an assistant to help us navigate the separate and seemingly forgotten corridors sans-stairs, and dark corners with creaking elevators!

I really enjoyed walking down the street towards the temple and looking at all the vendors, shops and goods. In the afternoon, we stopped at a small restaurant to enjoy what was described to us as a ‘Japanese pancake’. It was delicious! Lots of veggies and seafood combined into a patty and heated on a griddle right in front of us, topped with a combination of sauces and seaweed seasonings. It was very hot in the restaurant, but we had great fun making and eating our meal 🙂

Adrift (9)

October 16: Chiba! Took the train from Shibuya to Chiba in the afternoon, where Kumi was there to meet us and welcomed us into her home.

It was wonderful to get to meet everyone, look at old photos, share some laughs and a cozy dinner before heading up to bed.

Most memorable occasion: unexpectedly finding a small toy poodle appearing in a previously empty elevator 😀 I think all three of us were very surprised!


so far, so good

From Nov 16:

Woke up before 8 and had a big bowl of apple-cinnamon oatmeal. Hit the street and meandered through Renaissance books, the thrift shop, farmers market, Everyday Japan and am now parked at the library.

Days like this are the best ones, when I’m prepped for the rain and wind, out walking, painting my own lines of exploration through the park, side-streets, nooks and brilliant fall colours. The mud squishes comfortably, rain falling steadily, and that enchanting sound of trespassing on a blanket of autumn leaves.

The library is one of my favourite places. But this bookshop takes everything I love about reading to an entirely new level. Finding myself in such a cozy, happy place filled with books, I could not bring myself to simply turn and walk away empty-handed.

‘Very good choices,’ the human behind the counter said, with a warm smile. ‘Come back soon for more’ — I’m certain we will be seeing more of each other. Dangerous places, bookshops. I’m glad my backpack is a small one, and today is Saturday, otherwise, the temptation to gather volume after volume might get overwhelming and it’s possible someone would notice my having disappeared here for half the afternoon 😀


Adrift (8)

October 15: Train to Shibuya. It was honestly a thrill to be a part of the small sea of humanity in the station, –many thanks to the kindness of the station attendant we met escorting us from one end to the other and level to level until we reached our desired exit point– and the hum of the city, and to find ourselves within steps of the statue of Hachikō

Shibuya Crossing was another attraction where we found ourselves in the midst of a crowd, but we eventually made it the few blocks to the capsule hotel.

Very much enjoyed my brief conversation with our friend Yuki, before heading out to a dinner of delicious soba! Prior to our first meeting, Mom had said simply, “Yuki is like another Forrest, from Japan” which is funny and accurate as far as I can tell 😀

After dinner, we returned to the hotel to sleep. I had to use my Stix to get into bed and then spent several hours in spartan-like bliss: I had my tunes, book and journal to hand. And reading The Fellowship of the Ring, while listening to the accompanying brilliance of Howard Shore, tucked away in a pod with a comfy bed in the middle of the night in the heart of Shibuya, Japan is what I would qualify as a unique experience.


man walking on road with orange bag surrounded by trees
Photo by Emre Kuzu on

Fall is my season. Especially after this summer. I’m not sure there was a day in there where I was not profusely perspiring. It was bloody hot. Hello climate change.

The world seems a bit less frantic in fall. Spring, everybody is hopeful and full of energy. Summer everyone is running around trying to get everything done while the sun shines. Winter and everyone gets tired of the dark and the snow and the rain. But fall is just a vibrant little season merging out of the fast lane, full of comfort foods and plans for cozy hibernations, and that is why I enjoy it so much.

I like being inside watching the sun’s light fade, hearing the rain fall, making some curry for dinner and curling up with my book(s), or a movie(s), or making some music. In the past 2 weeks, I’ve already started making a dent on my music, literary and film libraries, watched a few sunsets, made a grown up blanket fort, and have broken out the canned goods, soups and teas!

Listening to Bruce Cockburn’s album, Nothing but a Burning light, I had a vision of home on Malaview. Mom and Dad, my sister and brother, the two dogs, all of us home at the end of the day after work and school and soccer practice. It was dark and raining outside, Mom had made fajitas, the lights were soft, music playing from the stereo in the living room. We were hungry, happy and in that satisfying state of being just wet and dirty enough to know the outdoors have been throughly enjoyed and explored! And just coming together as a family for dinner. The atmosphere is one of absolute comfort, the food smells (and tastes) amazing. It popped into my head like a little movie and definitely made me smile.

>The last few days, it’s like I’ve been breathing in clouds of smoke and now in being provided with real oxygen, can actually breathe easy again. I need to find ways to get myself some more oxygen.

Looking forward to an honest to goodness holiday which begins in a few days. Really hoping to do quite a lot of eating, sleeping, visiting, exploring and enjoying of everything. Mom and I are off to Japan! Eeek!!

That’s the latest and greatest,





My garden may be minute, at only four containers, but I love it to bits! It reminds me that nothing happens overnight; it smells of good dirt; and the greenery and oxygen and growing things make me happy. All they ask of me is that I provide them with some time in the sun and a drink of water; there is no waste, no guilt, no noise, no financial considerations, no behavioral interventions or maintenance needing to be carried out. I think I’ll name one Bilbo and the other Fergus 🙂 Maybe Sergeant, too. And Slim? Haha!

More on all that later…

**Sergeant Pepper; Basil at a single stem and still surviving; Bilbo grows bolder; Fergus is minus a limb and still going strong.

#plants #naming #sammyseedlings #jungleinprogress #4finefriends #books #fun #music


Good things (8)

silhouette photography of birds in flight and perched on electricity line
Photo by Elizabeth Tr. Armstrong on

AKA: Warts and All

I am still here, scarred, but still here. I feel that jubilant is a possibility — but still a ways off at the moment.


I realize how much I carry around in my head, how much worry is bubbling just below the surface. Still, I have a few key things I’d like support on, so hopefully, I don’t make a fool of myself and create a bloody tidal wave.


Some changes coming to the team next month and I am looking forward to the chance to look at the work we do with fresh eyes. #mentalhealthatwork

(I wrote that in April or March of this year, and now we are coming up on August with nothing to show for it but more Worry and Stress)*

>Don’t fret, I debriefed with my team, I’ve documented the details, I’ve penned a fantastic letter and maybe, just maybe, the proverbial bullet-hole will finally get more than a proverbial bandaid.


And, laugh if you can, cry if you must — because the body of this was sketched around 4 months ago, and reality hasn’t shifted much — maybe I’m getting more resilient, and then again, sometimes I wonder why we now shoulder the expectation that we SHOULD be more resilient– like everyone is supposed to aspire to be bullet-proof, instead of just a decent, healthy, happy, human being. We shouldn’t have to be 110% perfect, 110% of the time.