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Dear Diary – Not only is my child faster in video games, he’s faster in come-backs. I’m not sure it’s a good thing.

On Sunday evening, phone in hand, Hubby headed up the stairs. “I’m going to call my Dad”, he said, “but I have to go to the bathroom first”.

“That’s a pity”, I said (referring to the bathroom break, not the call).

“No,” Youngest Son retorted, “it’s a duty”.

Dear Diary – Summer is fast approaching, bringing with it hot and humid days. Which means my window for baking is coming to a close. So in an effort to find joy in the current “ho-hum” of life, I decided to tackle a couple of new recipes.

The first was onion jam. It was a tearful experience…but only because I had to chop 4 cups of onions. It was also a long experience as it required constant attention, and disappointingly, yielded only 2 cups. I’m not sure I would call it “jam” as the word infers something sticky and, well….”jammy”. It was the texture of very soft and caramelized onion. But! It was delicious on a hamburger, and if there’d been bacon and goat cheese too, I would have been in heaven.

My second recipe was not really a recipe at all. I literally cobbled together an apple-rhubard crumble pie using my apple crisp recipe x2, and instinct.

Two years ago, my aunt blessed me with some of her rhubarb plants and I have been carefully watching my tiny patch. This year, it produced enough rhubarb for a taste, while leaving plenty to go to seed so my patch will grow. Rhubarb is hard to find in the city and it’s priced like gold!

She gardens…she sews…she bakes…she paints…she refinishes furniture… there’s nothing she can’t do. Except maybe skydive.

To make things easier, I used a frozen pie shell for the base, because eating was a higher priority than fussing with pastry. I’m happy to report that, for once, I didn’t have a mental bakedown. My instinct paid off, and we polished that pie off in 2 days. It would have been one but I managed to keep the wolves at bay with a wooden spoon.

This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun.

Julia Child

Dear Diary – I was playing Halo with Youngest Son yesterday, and in a panic, I furiously pushed the button and yelled, “why can’t I change guns?. Slightly annoyed, Youngest Son tells me, “that’s because you’re pushing the “capture screenshot” button…like 20 times”.

So…. apparently my new controller has an extra button to capture screenshots.

Dear Diary – Today I went to Home Depot to buy herbs and flowers. I couldn’t invest much in my garden during covid. We couldn’t “shop” and the selection was limited or quickly picked over. I ordered seeds onlinelast year, but most of them never grew. Only the basil, and it was “basil on steroids”. I still have plenty left from my harvest last summer – dried, frozen, and minced and made into ice cubes.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Audrey Hepburn

I have always felt there is something special about gardening. The size, the space, the colour, the texture of the garden matters not because it’s about more than growing flowers or producing vegetables. It’s about nurturing the soul. Hands not idle, yet a quiet time for the mind to reflect or meditate. A safe space for tears to flow, and a restless heart to find peace.

Peace is something for which we are all searching. Whether it’s a break from the hurriedness of life, or calmness in a storm. I believe our Creator speaks to us in a garden. Like every person, each petal and blade of grass is a different and beautiful. We just need to look more closely.

I’m reminded that when Jesus sought the Father, asking that He been spared the cross, it was in a garden. It was also a garden where He met Mary after He rose again. C. Austin Miles was inspired by this story when he wrote the hymn, In the Garden, in April, 1912. It was my great-grandmother’s favourite hymn. He writes in the first person of walking in the garden with Jesus, and the peace and joy experienced in that place.

I am aware that my new fragrant herbs and purple petunias cannot chase away the grey clouds in my life, (nor rooting out the tangle of weeds that reach my knees), but I expect I will meet with Someone who can. Already, my heart overflows.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

C. Austin Miles

Dear Diary – I’ve been putting it off for some time now, but in order to get my Etsy business off the ground, I needed photos of my cute bags with a model. Since I can count the number of friends I have on one hand, my best option was not to harass ask them. but to do it myself. But in order to do that, there were a few obstacles to overcome.

First, I needed a plain background, and my house offers neither a plain blank wall or a brick facade. We have a wooden fence but standing knee-deep in weeds, climbing over a pile of assorted boards, or figuring out how to use a power tool to remove paintings (that no longer have a picture) was too overwhelming. I finally decided to amuse my neighbours and use the straggly, hole-y hedge in the front yard.

Setting established, the next challenge was to figure out how to use the tripod. I vaguely recalled Youngest Son using it once for a school project and it being waist-high, but after several minutes of unlocking and locking toggles, and tugging on poles, I was beginning to think it had all been a dream. I could barely get the camera higher than my knees. And I’m short! I would have asked Youngest Son but he was writing a physics test and I didn’t want to interrupt him. Fortunately, before I threw it across the room, I had a rare “ah-ha!” moment, and the problem was solved.

I attached my camera and turned it on.

The battery was dead.

An hour later, having put my hair up and changed into a black knit dress and jean jacket, I headed out with a basket full of bags, my tripod, my camera, and a looming sense of dread.

It was too hot for a jean jacket!

It took several attempts to figure out how to use the timer. After several snaps of my knees, face and butt (thankfully blurry), I figured out how to make it autofocus. Sort of. But despite the gray skies and looming black clouds, the photos were washed out.

I hefted everything closer to the road and tried again. But it was the same issue. So I moved everything again, within feet of the road but under the shade of the tree.

By now, the guy across the street was watching me from his front door, several passers-by had quizzed me non-verbally, and George down the street, was pretending to work in his garden.

I didn’t appreciate an audience.

By the end, I was becoming quite a pro at guessing where to stand with 5 seconds remaining, and how to turn to hide my chubby elbows and “water wings”. Or so I thought.

I have photos.

They’re not great.

But at least I finished my project before it started to rain.

I always thought it would be fun to be a model, but quite frankly, it’s hard work taking accessories off and on, holding odd positions, and pretending it was “fun”. I’d say “I’ll keep my day job” but I’m still figuring out just what that should be.

You know why adults ask kids what they want to be when they grow up?
It’s because they’re looking for ideas!