Forgiving friends, trees, and a swoony jam

Here’s how you recognize a true friend. You set their kitchen ablaze (true story, told here) and months later they give you a heaping bowl of damson plums. Damsons are tiny and tart jewels of autumn fruits. The jam, beloved by the English isn’t as well known here in Canada. Brit-born Chris (of the flaming…

The tipping point on tipping. What’s yours?

Australians aren’t automatic tippers. I was reminded of this while enroute to Australia earlier in the summer when I shared a cab with a couple heading home to Brisbane. “I’ll get it,” said the man as the cab pulled up to the international terminal. The fare was about 15 times the cost had we taken…

Soccer and the meaning of life

Stoke City just scored a goal. I know because, despite being several rooms away, I can hear MrWI64’s excited roar of ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ His fist will be pumping the air and he will be awash in excited emotion. What with it feeling like the End of Days with hurricanes chewing up the south and…

Behold, my tiny harvest

From time to time, I’d like to think I’ve provided useful information in this space. My summer heat-beating mojitos had a few people reaching for their muddlers, and a handful of readers produced fragrant crusty loaves from my easy peasy almost-as-good-as-it-gets baquette recipe. I thought my tip of placing a plastic fork barrier between the…

How to be a good guest

With visitor season in full flood here on Canada’s west coast, I’m reminded of a piece I wrote several years ago about how not to be a guest from hell. The rules were basic: Remember your mother’s caution that guests, like fish, stink after three days. Don’t impose. Don’t overstay. Be helpful. I’ve an addition…

Love letter to NSW, minus one hectoring cab driver

I sent this missive to the New South Wales Taxi Council and the Sydney Morning Herald this week. Just to get it out of my system. Here’s what happened when my daughter married an Australian and moved to New South Wales. I started traveling to Australia. Obviously, if I had my druthers, they and their…

40 years ago I had a baby

Courtney; Forty years ago, I had a baby. Something I’d no business doing, really, given that I had none of the traditional infrastructure in place. But, honestly, I wonder if I’d held out for the infrastructure and purposely gone about the business of planning my life, would there even be a you. And, as it…

Summertime and Mojitos are easy

A record-breaking heat wave is expected for my part of the world this weekend, which, I digress to say, is nothing like a heat wave in Phoenix where it is too hot for even planes to escape. Still, it’s warm and lovely. The ocean is as blue as the sky, and I spent $7 on…

Puppy dog tales and an online infatuation

Update: Zoe has gone to another. Such is the risk with online love. Gather around the IPad, friends, while I tell you a little story about a dog or two. I didn’t have a dog as a kid and the dog that made the biggest impression did so in a literal kind of way. I…

Tip from a hopeless gardener

For a week in early June our garden is in full flight of voluptuous poppies, stately flag-waving irises and rose buds bursting to burst. The hawthorn trees are shades of fuchsia and Dogwood flowers are soft ivory with tinges of pink and olive. It’s very pretty. A garden that passersby pause to appreciate. Let me…

A day without WIFI and a few minutes on stage

I was going to write about WIFI today. Something along the lines of was there life before WIFI? because ours has been down for the past 24 hours and we’re rattling around all shiftless and lost, trying to remember how we used to spend our time. We used to read more, not just during the…