Posted in Uncategorized

Skating Party!

The weather may be very different when you get around to reading this story, but as I write it is hot and humid here, north of Toronto. As weather reporters say in this area, “With humidity it feels like 40C,” which translates to about 104F.

This morning we joined my parents and a couple of my sisters for our monthly family breakfast. Mom pulled out her iPad and showed me a picture she’d taken of a photograph that had somehow unearthed itself, and it was pure gold. You see, back in the good old days, when I was about twelve years old, we had the perfect combination of weather, resulting in a few magical days for us kids. Without photo evidence it might be hard for some to believe. Continue reading “Skating Party!”

Posted in repurposed workbench, Uncategorized

Repurposed. Re-homed.

B0003787Once upon a time, a workbench lived in my father’s woodworking shop. It was an ordinary bench, extraordinary only because of the projects built on its surface. I’ve lost count of the number of things Dad made, but his grandchildren will never forget building their own little projects with Grandpa’s guidance. At first they built small boats to sail on the river running behind Grandpa and Grandma’s property. Then they graduated to wooden mallets, and small baseball bats turned on the lathe. Always, there were small pieces of wood available to them — cutoffs from other projects — and a box of used nails they could help themselves to.

IMG_0015 17When many of the grandchildren were almost grown up, my parents decided to move. Condo living would free them from caring for their country property, but it would also mean the end of Grandpa’s shop. Tears were shed, but the downsizing happened and that meant much of what wouldn’t fit into their new home went to their family.

On Choosing Day, out of all the available “good stuff”, what did my son want to have? He chose Grandpa’s workbench and the box of old nails. His wife smiled and gave her approval. At first the work bench was used as a breakfast bar of sorts at the side of their kitchen, but when they moved to the States that workbench came to our house for storage.

The years passed, and Virginia became Scott and Sarah’s home, but that Canadian workbench was never far from their minds. Their much smaller kitchen wouldn’t accommodate it as it was, but a new idea gradually formed. In talking with my husband, himself a skilled carpenter, they decided to make the workbench into a table. Phone calls, pictures, and FaceTime-ing followed, and the results were nothing less than gorgeous.


One fine May morning last year, the taken-apart table was carefully stowed in a trailer and we set off to deliver it to its new home.


Scott and Sarah entertain often, just like Grandpa and Grandma always did. Their main wish in converting the workbench was to have each of their guests sign the table after sharing a meal in their home. My husband made a mechanism, attached beneath the table, that raises the glass to allow for signatures.

IMG_7144Their son’s autograph went on right away, but Grandma and Grandpa’s were already there. They had come to our workshop to see the finished product and Grandpa heartily approved

I like that this old workbench has stayed in the family. I like even more that it remains a symbol of my parents’ generous hospitality over the years. I love sitting at this old/new table whenever we visit …


MYOH5072… and I super-love that Nolan and I can have fun right beside it!


Posted in Birthdays, Uncategorized

On Turning Sixty.

So, I’m turning sixty. SIXTY! Sixty. 60. No matter how you slice it, I have six decades of living under my belt.

Up to this point, birthdays ending in “0” have never bothered me.

Ten? Almost a teenager. Groovy!

Twenty? No longer a teenager, thank goodness.

Thirty was okay. A gang of us used to go out for decadent desserts when someone reached that milestone.

Life was so busy around my fortieth birthday it passed without notice. I felt a million years old at that point, so forty was, like, pfft. Not even worth thinking about.

Fifty? Fifty heralded the best years of my life. I was old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyhow, with a bit more free time to carry things off.


Continue reading “On Turning Sixty.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Susie Homemaker’s Very Fine Day

IMG_3794I think I’m a reasonable shopper. I like a good deal as well as the next person, but I don’t mind paying for items of good quality. All too often though, my shopping list includes laundry detergent and the price of quality brands really bugs me.

Over the years I’ve made my own laundry soap from time to time, with very good cleaning results, but my efforts always petered out because I disliked finely grating the bar soap needed to make the granular recipe I’d been using. A little while ago, still steaming over the price of Tide, I drove home wondering why I couldn’t make laundry soap in liquid form. Continue reading “Susie Homemaker’s Very Fine Day”

Posted in cancer, Uncategorized

When Cancer Came

My story was first published at

When cancer comes to call, it is entirely unexpected. We have spent no anxious days wondering about a suspicious lump, and no sleepless nights waiting for test results. Except in hindsight, there isn’t a single suggestion of cancer’s imminent visit. No, on this raw January day, cancer broadsides our family when it causes my husband to have a seizure in the middle of a Lone Star Cafe where we’re eating lunch. In six hours flat we speed from fajitas and salsa in the suburbs, through two local hospitals, and on to a big downtown ER. There, we’re warehoused until we can see a neurosurgeon about the scary grey mass that shows up on a CT of Paul’s brain. Continue reading “When Cancer Came”

Posted in christmas, gift


Woodburning Kit copyThe year I was ten years old I received a woodburning kit for Christmas. I had never seen one before and my parents had to explain how to use it. I’m pretty sure it got plugged in right after breakfast.

The tool was an unwieldy thing in the hands of a child, although in my mother’s it had looked easy. The hot tip of the tool came with different attachments (as show on the box cover above), and each made a different shape: a circle, an X, a fine line, and so on. The only problem is, the small tool provided for changing tips didn’t fasten then very securely so they were always coming off. But when things went well, it was a lot of fun. Continue reading “THE GIFT OF A CHILD”