Jellies, Jams,… carrots?

There’s nothing quite as twice-loved as mason jars. You know it, right? One jar – home to partridgeberry jam this week, cabbage pickles and  beef and barley soup next week, or marinated carrots today.

Very much looking forward to having my family to dinner this weekend. Unfortunately, not all of us can make it. The oldest has prior commitments but if I know nothing else, I do know we will do it again and she will be there next time for sure. This leaves me short two amazing chefs – both sister and hubby are a dream team in the  kitchen. Fortunately my younger sister, who can make it, is also a Rachel Ray type, so I still have a major league player in the house. Also have two sisters-in-law who can put a good taste on  a rubber boot so I happily encourage everyone to bring along a dish if they’d like. It’s certainly not a requirement and I used to tell them to bring nothing. They never listened  so now I just leave them alone.

#1Son is pretty good in the kitchen too – a skill acquired of necessity I suspect – and he usually brings along something with a little heat.

We’re going cold plates this time. I started prepping tonight and I know my marinated carrots are tasty.  I’ve done them up in individual little jars. While it’s not a dish that screams ‘chef extraordinaire’, it does say, “Come in. I’m so glad you’re here!”

Presentation counts!

Sam’s Sub Cake

There is no thing twice-loved here but there is a little boy who is loved over and over and over again. Sam celebrated his birthday this week.  He’s not a child who likes sweets. He’s more of a burger and meatloaf kind of guy. And subs. Subs are his favourite. Hence the Subway ‘cake’.



Cookies, Cupcakes, and Kayla

This weekend Kayla made cupcakes and cookies. I helped. Sort of. Mostly I drank wine and licked the beaters. We cranked the music up – song for song – your choice, my choice – and belted it out. Move over Gaga! Surprisingly, in spite of the 30 year age difference, our tastes in music were not that far apart.

This is the fruit of our labour. (her labour)


This is me trying my hand … Max gave it a shot too, with Kayla overseeing.


This is the beast that did all the work but grinded to a stop tonight. She’s been around a long, long time. No twice-loved for this old gal. The motor is smoked. But what a way to go out!


And while Kayla, the Cookie Queen, finished her decorating today, I stitched together a stuffed llama for Little Bear.

Not a bad way to spend a Friday night/ Saturday morning.


I ❤️ you, I say. Same, says he. Feeling the love ….

Last night I sat with the boys as they put together valentines for their classmates. I think they had four or five boxes of cards that got dumped on the table. The older two needed no help. I didn’t even check theirs. At 9 and 12 they know who their classmates are, and hopefully, how to spell their names.

Little Bear, however,  was a challenge. And not quite so interested. After addressing eight or nine envelopes, he was done.

“You have to put the cards in the envelopes too, ” I insisted.

”No you don’t. They didn’t come with cards.”

9FD4A7E5-8CD9-4A3A-BBD7-8B35D229B053I found some cards amongst the pile but he refused to sign them.

“How will your friends know who they’re from?”

With his head cocked to one side, he looked at me with the sideways wisdom only a seven year old can muster. “If I give it to them, they will know it’s from me. Who else would it be from?”

not at all feeling the love here …

I signed them later after he’d long gone to sleep.

And then, while cleaning up the table, I found this package of about a dozen little erasers that perfectly matched Little Bear’s valentine envelopes. I tucked the erasers into the envelopes but will say nothing more about it. I don’t mind admitting I’m wrong but definitely not in the mood for an I Told You So from a seven year old. And why would you put erasers in an envelope and call it a valentine anyway? Wonder what genius came up with that idea!

I’m not a particularly big fan of Valentines Day, not like some. I once had a valentine made from a cigarette package. It was a pop-up. Very original for the time, I suspect. (the pop up thing,  not the cigarette package – that was just unusual).  That’s the  only valentine I remember and I probably wouldn’t remember that if I hadn’t kept it for about a million years.


I lay down with Little Bear last night until he drifted off. He wanted stories and we made up a pretend story about cupcakes for people you love. He was very chatty but settled after a while.

“I love you,” I said.

”Same,” says he.

And then …

“What’s that noise, Gram?”

”Nothing. I think it’s the drier. Go to sleep.”

It wasn’t.

Half an hour later I was crawling under the house on my belly through the muck and the water, looking for the main valve to turn off the deluge that was gushing from an overhead pipe. Came inside, changed, and finished signing Little Bear’s cards.

still not feeling the love …

#1 son arrived shortly thereafter, crawled under the house, and fixed the problem. I went home.

Today it all seems rather funny. Today I’m in a very good mood.

Happy Valentines Day?



The Black Knight


Pulled this one out of the closet tonight and put it together. What can I say? Some people drink to find themselves, some do puzzles, I do Lego. Whatever works.

It came together fairly quickly. Not one piece missing which is not bad for a 25 year old set. I remember #1 son was very much ‘into’ the castle Lego when he was 10/12 years old. It hasn’t been played with for many many years but have a feeling Little Bear will play out a battle or two when he sees it.

Lego is one toy that forever stands the test of time.

Twice loved.


Let’s Talk …

I recently spoke with someome whose mental health issues had changed that individual’s life in a profound and deeply disturbing way, and my heart hurt for all he had suffered. His mental health deteriorated at a time when there was little understanding of the complexity of mental illness and even less sympathy and support.

I know of others whose more recent downward spiral is equally heartbreaking and hurtful. That black hole of despair is deep. It swallows you whole and the support is never wide enough, the life-lines never long enough.

I am glad to see that change is happening. But I am uncertain of the path the pendulum takes and who is struck down in its journey across time. We cannot cherrypick whose mental health concerns we are sympathetic to, but I fear I am guilty of just that. And sadly, I believe this to be because of the uncertainty we have about the legitimacy and validity of those who cry for help. There are far too many who cite poor mental health to excuse themselves from facing the normal healthy expectations that life naturally places upon us.

Living fully requires us to face obstacles, challenges, rejection, disappointment, sadness. Life also gifts us with triumph, joy, success, love, and plain old lucky breaks. I believe it is normal to experience anxiety, depression, negative thoughts, periods of self doubt, insecurity, intense fear and sadness. Not all the time, no; but sometimes, yes. Is this poor mental health, or is it part of living a full and normal life? I can only speak for myself, but I can’t imagine ever reaching this age without having experienced it all, the good and the not so!

Once again this past week, Bell Let’s Talk lit up social media. Bell’s goal is to promote awareness and action with  strategy built on four key pillars: Fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting research and leading by example in workplace mental health. How can one not support such an agenda? I look forward to time when everyone who needs to talk will find a friend who will listen, a professional who will help. I also look forward to a time when we again learn and access those coping skills that make life’s journey a road trip to be eagerly anticipated and not a minefield that must be gingerly and fearfully navigated.

Thinking of you tonight.

Twice loved.