Monthly Archives: November 2012

Dripping fat? Deciphering my holiday wreath

The wreath went up on the front door a few days ago, replacing the three pieces of Indian corn tied with ribbons I’d hung there for fall. It’s lovely and full, with evergreen, holly and pine cones entwined around a base of twigs. Fairly traditional, but with a modern feel to it. While presumably the […]

Getting excited about the first snowfall

The snow hasn’t landed yet so it’s easy to wax poetic. About how it blankets everything in the city in a cleansing shroud of white, muffling the sounds of sirens and streetcars and vans and trucks and cars. How the footprints of hundreds are erased for a few minutes and you’re the first to mark […]

In anger, all we want is to be heard

I like cleaning – sometimes. My kid doesn’t – ever. Right now, she is up in her bedroom crying loudly and alternately grumbling under her breath. “I hate doing this. I hate doing this.” (At least she’s not saying, “I hate my mommy, I hate my mommy.”) Then I hear the occasional bang. The lead-up […]

Driving a hard bargain: the fine art of haggling

Christmas time – and we’re all about to head out and spend a fortune shopping. But there are ways to spend a little less, besides trimming Uncle Bob off your list. Just ask for a lower price. Haggling came to me by accident. But once I did it, I realized you can do it almost […]

Learn a lesson from the girls, Gary Bettman

Cheering  hockey fans chased away the silence at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night. It may not have been for the Toronto Maple Leafs – but it was an object lesson in the love of the game. Too bad NHL chief Gary Bettman wasn’t there.  He’d have re-discovered that hockey’s not just about money, drawing […]

Night driving to the edge of the falls

When I want to be alone sometimes, I take a drive. One of my all-time favourites was a midnight run to Niagara Falls. Here’s a description of that drive slightly edited from an article I wrote for the Independent on Sunday. One evening, between Christmas and New Year, I wanted to escape the hustle of […]

Sometimes a bad hair day matters

Today I got two compliments about my curly hair. I took them in my stride. These days I wear my  hair – while I wouldn’t say proudly, I will say without cringing. It’s been a long road to  acceptance. When I was a kid, I had fine hair that knotted easily – it was impossible […]

Jingles, they’ll get you singing

Already the Christmas commercials are out. And with them, the Christmas jingles. It’s too early – I don’t want those earworms in my head for the next month and a half. But now that the topic of crass commercialization is in my mind, it’s made me think of some of the commercial jingles that formed […]

Finding the words to remember

I didn’t understand what I was supposed to remember. In school, in the early grades, we would stand up at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and be silent. I read Flanders Fields in front of the school one year. The solemnity of the occasion is still clear in my […]

Pen or PC? It’s in the writing

I have to admit I’m writing this blog at my computer. Using my keyboard. Perched on my lap. This does not make me feel any less like I’m writing. Composing. But it would give Julius, the kid at my daughter’s school who quit the newspaper because he couldn’t write by hand, great cause for glee. […]

The making of a political junkie

The party room was buzzing. It must have been 1972. Election year. Alastair Gillespie was campaigning to win the riding of Etobicoke in Toronto for the second time – he’d gained it first in 1968 and again in 1974. This is the first memory that I can pinpoint in time by counting out election years: […]

Finding my voice, I’ve got the music in me

If you have a place on this earth where you can sing, you are a lucky person. Mine is in a pub on the west coast of Ireland. I haven’t been back there in a while. Even if I never make it back, it was enough that, once, I sang there. The west coast is […]


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