Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We have a penchance for accidental gardening around my house. I have sunflowers that spring forth by the dozens every year, with no effort from my hand. Little tomato plants emerge from the very soil where the previous year they flourished and fell back to earth. Seemingly magical or via the helping hand of friendly fairies perhaps? Raspberries aren't so shocking, but certainly a delicious fruit that requires little labour on my part. Wonderful, in my eyes, to be sure. Various herbs, whether perennial or annual, also return, often requiring a heavy hand to keep them in check. My oregano is prolific, thyme terrific and the cilantro and dill self-seed at will for both my use and many a neighbour.

Just about ripe
One other plant tends to return every year, which did not fail to materialize again this year. Cinderella's carriage be damned, this beauty is all about Halloween. Check it out! For whatever reason we only got one, but it was a lovely pumpkin none the less. And shocking to me, it was ripe by mid-August. I managed to convince the girls not to carve it in the heat of summer, as the odds of it lasting til October 31st once carved were nil, but whether it would survive intact til All Hallow's Eve was another question entirely.

Never fear, but it did! And yesterday was the day that we sliced into this bad boy. It was time to carve a Jack 'o Lantern!

The first step is always to draw a fearsome face in our family. Once the face is in place (try and carve that Mom!), then I plunge my knife into the top of the quaking squash and carve a lid for it.

Check out all those seeds!

The crafty Momma that I am, no way are we going to let those yummy bits go to waste. Time to get scooping!

A spoon can be handy to scrape the sides,

but sometimes only your hand will do to get right in there! Get digging!
Voila, empty!

And here we have the remains of the day

After much careful carving by my deft hand, two jolly Jack 'o Lanterns emerged that pleased my girls

Pumpkin Seeds Roasting
But what really pleased me were all those delicious little seeds that filled our two orange orbs. Gotta love roasted pumpkin seeds with just a hint of salt, plus a sprinkle of paprika. Set on low, and cooked til crunchy, these yummy treats are packed with iron, zinc, copper, phosphorous, manganese, tryptophan, magnesium and more. They are a source of vitamin E, full of antioxidants and even have anti-microbial benefits. Woohoo, and they taste good too! With a history dating back to 1300-1500 AD, that's a whole lot of goodness for a really long time.

Don't expect me to share my seasonal seeds with you though. I am a bit of a Halloween hog, when it comes to my pumpkin seeds. You'll have to carve your own pumpkin and make your own roasted seeds this week.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Edge of My Seat

the edge of my seat
is my favourite place to
watch you grow and fly


My little daredevil inspired this post
with her antics in our crab apple tree
a few weeks ago.
That might have been our last spot of sunshine
and I'll hold onto it tight
as we ride out some wet & wild weather
Hope Sandy hasn't washed all my bloggy friends away.
Be well

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Burnt Pictures

Somewhere between a smile 
and a sigh
the world swirled,
and set my soul
on fire
burning pictures 
of life 
as I knew it

blow through me
leaving me cold
as the ice that threatens
to form 
over yesterday's

This is not how it was supposed to be
This is not
what I expected 
when I looked at your face
This is not
a reality
I ever wanted to explore

closing my eyes
can't erase the words
won't replace the facts
refuses to change the future
 any tomorrow

I hold onto
the last vestiges 
of colour, hope, faith
and pray 
that we can 
weather the storm
that approaches...

*for those that worry; a tale of love lost, but not my own

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Pedantic Pedestrian

Wandering towards the street, she looked left, right, left…

Her foot rose from the curb. As she stepped, the blast of a horn stunned her. A sting of hot air sliced her face and forced her to stumble backward. Unbidden tears followed.

What happened? Where did that come from? Better question - Where was she?


Not an Alzheimer’s moment this – just the effects of flipping your world on its axis and walking on the wrong side of life, African-style. It has a main character, plot and climax, therefore I shall call it a short story. A flash fiction, if you will. In 55 words no less! Isn't that interesting? 

I bet that G-Man might think so...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Still Alice

"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova; © 2007, Simon & Schuster

Dr. Alice Howland is a Professor of Psychology at pre-eminent Harvard University. She travels and speaks all over the world, is active in research and development of psycholinguistics and is highly respected by her students, peers and fellow teachers. She has a loving husband, three highly successful children and is riding high on a successful lifetime devoted to life.

That is until she stumbles one day in the middle of a presentation. She simply cannot find the word she is looking for. While most might miss her transgression, she is flustered by this slip in her normally flawless lectures. She recovers, but is bothered by this unusual turn of events. As the weeks go by, other small incidents occur that rattle her usually confident demeanour. She is 50 years old and has always been the stalwart in the family for remembering every and any small detail. Concerns that perhaps menopause is wreaking havoc with her internal systems, she makes a trip to her family physician. That leads to further tests and other doctors. The ultimate shocking diagnosis is early-onset Alzheimer's.

As the story unfolds, the reader walks the path of confusion that Alice slowly gets ensnared in. It is far worse than confusion though, as more than just words escape her in her steady spiral out of cognitive control. No amount of drugs, hope, wishing or praying can slow this horrific disease as it steals everything that Alice has ever held dear in her life. Genova's heart-breaking telling of the story is sad in its following of Alice's descent into the worst that Alzheimer's has to offer - memory loss, inability to recognize places, words and people, inability to interact in group settings or even perform normal everyday functions (everything from handling money, going out by oneself, to cleaning and grooming one's person). All this at the age of 50 in a Harvard Professor.

My heart broke for Alice, as she struggled to maintain control on the unsteady slope she slid down. I recognized her symptoms, as those that my own grandmother has suffered and shed a tear in understanding the unfairness of it all just that little bit more. No amount of reminding, pressuring, cajoling or humouring truly makes a difference. The neurons fail and they don't come back no matter how much you wish it to be different. It steals who the person was and the loved ones that surround that person are left to cope as best they can, trying to reconcile the person they remember with the damaged soul that is left. It isn't fair to any involved and Genova makes that sadly clear. The point she so saliently makes though is that even as the former personality slips away, the individual is still there and deserving of our respect.

I came to this book through my book club, but I take it with me to heart. I have visibly seen the symptoms Genova describes on the page, but her words helped me to see the disease a little clearer. It doesn't make me feel any better, but the tears I shed helped me to understand a little more.

~Thank you Lisa~

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Birth - days
40 of them lined up 
to make you 
a man
at life
and beyond.
but you have missed
5 of them now
and I won-
der if
any more...

Happy Birthday Brad

hopeful, triumphant
beginning, propelling, embarking
on the road to tomorrow
cold, final
ending, transforming, culminating
closing the door of yesterday

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Pissed Pumpkin

I never meant it to go down like that. Jack was a decent guy, but he just got under my skin. I didn't really mean him any harm. Honest, I didn't!

But when he messed with me before I’d had that first sip of coffee, I kind of lost it and bit his head off…

*Image from
And that my friends is 55 words for the persuasive personage G-Man and his fun Flash Friday 55!

Happy Thanksgiving my fellow Canucks. Hope your pumpkin pie is of the happier sort!



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