Friday, May 20

Fond farewell to blogging (for now)

Dear occasional readers, “followers” and faithful friends

For several years I have been blogging rather randomly, at least according to my profile—although one of my blogs has seen more activity than others. In recent weeks I have undergone some changes in my health (and, alas, a return of that old nemesis, carpal tunnel syndrome). While I work towards using my hands less (!) to relieve the immediate symptoms of CTS, I have made the radical decision to cease and desist from blogging for the foreseeable future.

I love writing, and will most likely continue to do so (it’s oxygen for my soul), but I suspect I blog each week more out of habit than anything else. It seemed a good idea at the time….

Thank you for your kind input in my life in general, and this blog in particular. I shall leave the blog active for a while, and then decide whether or not to delete it.

Please stay in touch via e-mail: or FB:; I shall also post updates on my Web site: – thanks again.

Sunday, May 15

Friends, Moments, Countryside (FMC)

This has been a full and rich month already, to say the least. Almost each day I write down “three beautiful things” (3BT—see earlier tags), but tonight I decided to change my title to reflect the sweeping scale of recent reminiscences.

In honour of Peter Gzowski, then, I am henceforth (re)labelling my 3BT tags “Friends, Moments, Countryside” (FMC).[1]

For years I have toyed with the idea of using Mr. Gzowski’s title somewhere in my own writings—these particular section titles (humorously adapted from Shakespeare’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” in Julius Caesar’s act III, scene II) have helped shaped my current anthology of letters; I was an ardent fan of Gzowski’s monthly Canadian Living column, and on Friday I bought several of his compilations at the annual CBC book sale (no doubt this beloved late author would have been pleased to learn of our support for literacy).

With no further ado, then, see my next post for the first 3BT/FMC I wish to share….

[1] Peter Gzowski, Friends, Moments, Countryside: Selected Columns from Canadian Living, 1993–98 (McClelland & Stewart, 1998).

Sunday seren(dip)ity

[Cochrane railway]

On this eve of late sunshine and pre-summer stillness—and the sound of a train rumbling through Cochrane—with the view of a snowless evergreen to my right [see photos] and piles of paper toppling over on the shelves and floor behind me (I share office space with my accountant hubby who has just survived his twentieth tax season), I sit before my screen and write this very long intro to a very short blog post.

[window view]

All is well. My recent many-day headache (possibly exacerbated by barometric pressure changes) has lifted and “I can see clearly now the pain has gone.”

Tonight I hope to capture some of the corresponding thoughts (!) that were whirling free in my foggy brain this past week.

Also please see next post for a tag change, from 3BT (“three beautiful things”) to …?

The View From Here: Window on Alberta

Posted: 15 May 2011 02:07 PM PDT

A frequent commenter on The Pear Tree site, Elaine Phillips recently sent us these snapshots of her office in Cochrane, Alberta (near Calgary), where she usually reads TPT and writes to us from.
Read more on The View From Here: Window on Alberta…

Tuesday, May 10

3BT: Hans; S’African treats; Lori’s 50th

1.      Massage with the lovely Hans (and the end of a three-day headache)

2.      Meeting Hester and Willem at the new Cochrane Butchery and buying biltong (similar to beef jerkey) and droëwors (also dried meat) and Ouma rusks and fig jam! Oh, and Mrs H.S. Balls Peach Chutney. Bobotie coming up!

3.      Tonight was our monthly SLT meeting* at our church in Calgary. Also: Lori A’s 50th birthday. Glad I was able to attend both, since LA’s (surprise!) par-tay was held at the church. J

*Spiritual Leadership Team

No (e)mail on Monday

Sunday, May 8

3BT: Mother’s Day; Hannah; R&R

1.      Mother’s day phone calls (to our three moms: Beth, Lynnette and Diana)

2.      Hannah sermon at DCC

3.      Peaceful afternoon of reading and rest (and a shower of rain)

P.S. It’s also my parents’ 46th wedding anniversary today: CONGRATULATIONS, Mom and Dad!

3BT Saturday: after-gym treats; grad; farewell BBQ

1.      Coffee and cinnamon melts after gym

2.      Graduation

3.      After-grad BBQ at the home of a graduate’s in-laws (and lengthy theological debates over cheesecake and coffee)

Friday, May 6

3BT: Sweet sixteen, King’s Fold (Day 2), celebration supper and dessert

1.      Beautiful memories of our wedding day, sixteen years ago: 6 May 1995.

2.      Celebrating with the King’s Fold community—and being treated after lunch to chef Cathy’s strawberries-and-cream surprise called the “E&R trifle”!

3.      Supper at Smitty’s with our Fairman friends, followed by a dessert reception at seminary in celebration of our graduands. (My heart was encouraged by the words of a graduating student who honoured me in his tribute.)

3BT: (Thurs) Tea with LC, King’s Fold (Day 1), unexpected loft photo

1.                          On Thursday RP and I met at Tea…and Other Things to say hi and bye to our student (and meet her family from Colorado). Aleta is planning on drinking her way through the selection of available teas before her graduation in a couple of years. J

2.                          After tea, my sweet-sixteen spouse drove me out to King’s Fold to spend a night relaxing in the peace of one of our favourite places.

3.                          When I went upstairs to read in the sunny loft, I immediately noticed a photo on the wall of a bunch of grapes…taken by RP in a Franschhoek vineyard! (I had donated the photo years earlier and it had since made its way into room 2, where we slept on Thursday.)

4.                          Bonus: Meeting Jamie at the supper table who knew our neighbours (and my colleague’s family); meeting Tim at the supper table, just home from Haiti, who knew a friend of ours from Three Hills. “It’s a small, small world.”

Wednesday, May 4

3BT: A walk in the park, editing with Evie, coffee with Tammy

1.      I just got home from a long walk in the park with my sweet spouse. (Gym partner WB is absent tonight, so my hubby joined me for my daily exercise.)

2.      Met with EGM, writing/accountability partner, to work on our book about writing (yes, in letter format). Watch this space 3 months from now.

3.      Wednesday it is, and my weekly treat is meeting TM from the city for scintillating conversation and a cup of something delicious (tea for me, coffee for T).

"Dear Letter"

Earlier today, "A Year of Letters" posted the following gem; how could I not share it here?

See the original at:

Dear Letter,

ayearofletters | May 4, 2011 at 11:08 AM | 
Dear Letter,
I'm sorry it's taken me twenty years to reconnect with you.  I'm not sure what I was thinking.  A bit of me didn't know where I could send you, so few seem to be interested in letter writing anymore.  But I got over that and decided to reconnect with you even if others weren't.
Since we last me in person I've been emailing, skyping, blogging and talking on my cell phone.  But I missed you.  Your presence in my mailbox.  The crinkle of paper, smudged ink, a written address on your envelope instantly revealing the sender because of the handwriting. Oh I know some of my missing you is age and sentimentalsm.  But it's also getting to a point in life where I realize how important you are.
I hope you're treated well.  I hope people recognize your sincerity and don't think I'm a fool for reconnecting with you. Sometimes I feel a bit silly and embarrassed by my love of you.  But that's my pride speaking, so I quite intend to keep loving you and not worry about man's opinion of you and I.
Thanks for helping me connect with people, love people, learn of people, share of myself, and leave behind a bit of history (all knowing it could be at the bottom of some garbage dump).  That's ok though, for you know what we've shared.
So wonderful to talk with and through you.  I look forward to many more meetings through the mail.  You are part of present and part of my past!
With Great Affection, A Year of Letters

Tuesday, May 3

3BT: Pyjama day; chatting to my folks; afternoon rain

1.      Today I worked from home sweet home: bliss. No need to leave to escape the noise (and fumes) of renos in the basement; no need to tiptoe around, not wishing to disturb convalescing patient downstairs (not that I’m noisy). In fact, I quietly stayed in my pyjamas ALL day!

2.      Mid-morning I called my parents in South Africa and we chatted for ages. It’s been too long (I write more often than I phone). During my conversation with my mom, RP came home bearing groceries (oh, sweet spouse!) and I packed them away while talking on the phone. I managed to drop half a dozen eggs—and break three—while continuing to enjoy a coherent conversation. Then I took a photo. And I cleaned up! With one hand! (I can still hear the sound of my mom’s laughter at her clumsy older daughter.)


3.      Rain. Always a Beautiful Thing in dry Alberta.
[cloud reflection in puddle]

Monday, May 2

3BT: late morning; sunny day to vote; tea…and other things

1.      Sleeping late; waking up in our home knowing our company (nine weeks worth) had left.

2.      Driving around in the warm spring sunshine—a balmy 18 ºC!—on our way to vote at a local school. (Living in a free country’s also a Beautiful Thing.)

3.      Meeting at Tea…and Other Things with sweet-Aleet, who will be leaving us on Thursday. Fresh cinnamon scones, fresh from the oven. Blueberry and mango pie. Tea: Yorkshire Gold.

Monday mail day

I’ve got mail!


And although Mondays are mostly techno-free (and sometimes people-free) until after work, I have decided to post pics of snail mail received the week before. Seems an appropriate way to start the new week.

Thank you, one and all!

Sunday, May 1

3BT Sunday: creativity, Chinese lunch, ducky cake

1.      Brad’s sermon on creativity (Genesis 1: “In the beginning, God created”—and we’re made in His image. Great reminder of the creativity in all of us.)

2.      Lunch in the NE with client/friends.

3.      Have you ever seen a cake as sweet? Even more special was sharing it with friends during afternoon tea.

4.      Bonus: Driving home along Hwy 1A to our sanctuary in sleepy Cochrane, admiring the snow-capped Rockies in the distance. Planning our six-month de-cluttering campaign. Reading in bed. Celebrating the end of April!