so many questions

From a magazine that shall remain unnamed, may I present the absolute worst intro to a recipe section:


  1. Man berries? Seriously? That has to be intentional, right? If so, why? I do not want to contemplate what recipes I can whip up from man berries.
  2. Manly recipes? What are manly recipes? Are there womanly recipes? What makes a particular recipe manly? (The answer, based on the recipes that follow: meat and booze.)
  3. Maybe it’s time I snuck my boyfriend or husband into the meals? How on earth did this clumsily constructed first sentence make it past an editor?
  4. If I find it difficult to convince my boyfriend or husband to eat more fruit, shouldn’t that be his problem? If he’s over the age of, say, three, isn’t it a tad insulting to trick him into eating something?
  5. Speaking of insulting, what’s with the assumption that my boyfriend or husband isn’t handling or at least sharing the cooking duties? Maybe instead of thinking up ways to sneak things into meals, it’s time to quit thinking of men as clueless infants who not only don’t know and don’t care about basic nutrition, but have to be bribed into eating produce by burying it in bacon and beer?

what I read in June 2019

Celebrate by Pippa Middleton (I expected this to be a bit of celebrity fluff, but it’s a hefty book with lots of game, decorating and recipe ideas.)
The Collected Stories of Winnie-the-Pooh: Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne (Audiobook with full cast dramatisation featuring Judi Dench and Stephen Fry. LOVED it.)
Every Little Piece of Me by Amy Jones (The evolution of a friendship between two young women who’ve been chewed up and spit out by society’s love of fame and infamy. Definitely recommend it.)
Ghost Stories and Legends of PEI by Julie V Watson (Entertaining.)
The Gown by Jennifer Robson (A bit sweet for my taste. I’d have cut out the modern-day granddaughter parts and kept the focus on the women from the fifties, who were much more compelling.)
Let Me Feed You by Rosie Daykin (Entertaining commentary and beautifully styled.)
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett (Audiobook, but I only listened to two hours of ten total because the narrator’s delivery was unbearable. I’ve seen so many reviews about how funny this book is, but I never so much as cracked a smile. Is it supposed to be funny because the main character is a taxidermist? Someday, maybe I’ll consider reading the paper version to see if it’s any better.)
Normal People by Sally Rooney (I’ve learned to be wary of the wildly praised books and this one proves the point yet again. It was okay. The characters were okay. I got bored sometimes. Maybe I’m too old for it?)
Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie (Audiobook. Lots of fun.)
Simple Organizing Wisdom by Good Housekeeping (Put things where they belong. If they don’t belong anywhere, figure out where they should belong.)
Striped Crochet Blankets by Haafner Linssen (More than meets all my striped crochet blanket needs, which are, admittedly, small.)
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie (Audiobook.  Christie’s pure comfort reading/listening.)
Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey (Fine.)
Wild Mittens, Unruly Socks by Lumi Karmitsa (I admire, but do not share, her dedication to rendering wild animals in wool.)
Winter Knits from Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant (If only I had more hands to wear more mittens.)
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Audiobook. More than twenty-three hours long, but I was completely captivated the entire time.)


what I read in May 2019

Abridged Classics by John Atkinson (Amusing cartoon summaries of famous novels.)
The Ask by Sam Lipsyte (Audiobook. Enjoyable.)
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Audiobook. Okay.)
Branding for Bloggers by Zach Heller (One long ad for the author’s blogging course.)
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen (Comprehensive.)
Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford by Desha Peacock (Spoiler: get things at thrift shops, garage sales and from other people’s garbage.)
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg (Audiobook.  I’d hoped it was non-fiction, but it’s a collection of short stories. They’re okay.)
Doug Knockwood, Mi’kmaw Elder by Doug Knockwood (Quite the life story.)
Feel Free by Zadie Smith (Audiobook. Some really interesting essays, some not so much.)
Follow Your North Star by Martha Beck (Audiobook. A good introduction to thinking about what you want in life.)
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King (The author is lucky Mister Rogers is an interesting enough subject for readers to put up with his weak, repetitive writing.)
Head-to-Toe Winter Knits by Monica Russel (I had no idea boot cuffs were so in demand.)
Mittens from Around Norway by Nina Granlund Saether (Gorgeous.)
The Old Man and the Gun by David Grann (Three true crime stories, each crazier than the last. Really fascinating.)
Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin (Not as interesting as her other books, but good tips if you’ve somehow never heard decluttering tips before.)
A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie (BBC Radio Full Cast Dramatisation. Good fun.)
Reproduction by Ian Williams (I described this on Twitter as being like reading a dream and I stand by that description. Experimental.)
Small Space Living by Roberta Sandenbergh (This lady is a hard-core minimalist and I admire her, but I couldn’t do it.)
The Year of the Introvert by Michaela Chung (365 days of lame “advice”.)


painting the look off

Glen and I went with Foster to The Look Off yesterday morning so he could paint with the Annapolis Valley Plein Air group and we could enjoy the view.

Here he is, hard at work:

And here’s the finished product:

what I read in April 2019

Aspects of the Novel by EM Forster (Snore.)
Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Marit Hovland (I would like to live inside of and eat everything in this book.)
The Clean Plate by Gwyneth Paltrow (A catalogue of Gwyneth-cavorting-on-the-beach shots with a few recipes scattered throughout.)
Educated by Tara Westover (Hands down, the most gripping book of the month. A fascinating read.)
Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan (Some decent recipes.)
Fifty Shades of Kale by Drew Ramsey MD and Jennifer Iserloh (A weird piggybacking on the softcore porn theme, except with kale.  I like kale, but not in that way.)
The Flavour Matrix by James Briscione (An extremely scientific way of approaching cooking. Not for me.)
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin (Super interesting. I’m a questioner.)
French Vintage Décor by Jamie Lundstrom (Turns out my taste isn’t very French.)
The Fundy Vault by Linda Moore (First heard of it because of the local connection, but it read like a clunky first draft.)
George Hunter’s Canada by The National Film Board of Canada Collection (Short, but good.)
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis  (Her honesty about issues like child-care and cosmetic surgery are commendable, but all of her advice seems geared to women with life circumstances identical to her own.)
The Library Book by Susan Orlean (I almost gave up on this one a few times, but persisted because of all the glowing reviews. It was okay.)
The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young (I wasn’t interested in many of the recipes, but I always like book suggestions.)
Meaty by Samantha Irby (I preferred We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, but she’s a live wire and fun to read/listen to.)
Oversize Fashion Knits by Frechverlag GmbH (Knits for young women half my size. I would look like I was wearing all my other clothes underneath the oversize fashion knits.)
The Power of Pulses by Dan Jason, Hilary Malone and Alison Malone Eathorne (Good info on growing and cooking with beans and legumes. Will probably buy this one for reference.)
Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki (Meant for those with bigger business dreams than me, but still fairly entertaining. A shame the audiobook narrator pronounces it ‘entreprenyooor’.)
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary (The same advice one sees in all books of this genre: Declutter. Appreciate the small things. Be mindful.)
Small Victories by Anne Lamott (I’m not religious at all, but I like Anne Lamott. I think we’d get along.)


what I read in March 2019

The Adults by Caroline Hulse (Light, but fun – considering someone gets shot with an arrow.)
Atomic Habits by James Clear (About on par with the other books on habits I’ve read. Little steps add up.)
The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner (Confirms the dietary choices we’ve made so that’s good.)
Bluenoser’s Book of Slang by Vernon Oickle (A good portion of which is just slang, not really Bluenoser-specific.)
Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox (Super interesting.)
Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith (Spoiler alert: she gets rid of a bunch of accessories.)
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (Made me glad no one has ever asked me for a letter of recommendation.)
Design Your Next Chapter by Debbie Travis (She seems easygoing and relatable, but I didn’t learn much.)
The End of Procrastination by Petr Ludwig and Adela Schicker (Quite good. I took notes.)
Erebus by Michael Palin (Really good.)
Gmorning Gnight by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Tweets for people who like rhymes and repetition.)
Historic House Names of Nova Scotia by Joseph M.A. Ballard (Need to name this place, stat.)
Let’s Go Exploring: Calvin and Hobbes by Michael Hingston (I wish I’d spent the time re-reading the actual cartoon instead.)
The Mating Season by P.G. Wodehouse (Can’t go wrong with a Wodehouse.)
Milk Street Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball (Too meaty for us.)
Minimalist Baker’s Everday Cooking by Dana Shultz (After two minutes of perusing the library copy, I knew I had to buy my own copy. So I did.)
Nobody Cares by Anne T. Donahue (Enjoyable in that confessional-essay sort of way.)
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (I really should give eggplant another try.)
Simple Times by Amy Sedaris (The audiobook version. She is great, but her co-narrator didn’t do it for me.)
Small Space Style by Whitney Leigh Morris (Could my family live in a tiny house less than 400 square feet? No.)
Son of a Critch by Mark Critch (The audiobook version because the accent makes it.)
Witnesses to a New Nation by The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia (Old houses, oh yeah.)
The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong (Totally fascinating.)


So it’s officially spring. Whoopee. Spring is nice for about seven minutes and then it’s all biting insects, allergies and incessant roadwork everywhere you go. Even worse is that spring is the slippery slope to summer. Which is the worst.

Reverse SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a real thing and I have it. As the temperature and hours of daylight slowly climb in March and April, I experience the same impending doom regular SADists (that can’t be right) must feel in October and November as the days grow shorter and colder. June, July and August are my December, January and February: months I need to white-knuckle my way through, nauseous and headachy, cursing this stupid, hot country I live in and literally counting down the days until I can look at a pair of pants without bursting into flames. By late September, I begin to see the (thankfully dim) light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s always still uncomfortably warm until October, when I’m back to my usual self, rejoicing that the monster has been defeated for another year.

For five straight months, I’m preoccupied by my futile attempt at keeping the house as cool and dark as possible by closing the blinds and drapes that a certain unnamed ignoramus keeps opening in our passive-aggressive tug of war. I go outside only when absolutely necessary. (It’s never necessary.) I sit in front of a fan, daydreaming about being a reverse snowbird, fleeing the heat and humidity for a cool, cloudy environment where it’s never too hot for a cup of tea, I don’t sweat sitting still and I can dress with some semblance of dignity.

The most depressing part of all this, of course, is that it’s the exact opposite of what the vast majority of other people are doing and feeling all summer long. Having winter SAD gets you sympathy, commiseration and a hot tip about where to buy a light therapy box on sale. Having summer SAD gets you mockery and scepticism. From everyone, including the winter SAD people, who have forgotten what it’s like to feel persecuted by the weather.

No, I don’t think I’d feel better with ‘a bit of a tan.’ Yes, I am going to wear a gigantic sunhat and a men’s XXL white dress shirt if I risk a trip to the beach, which I guarantee will not be between the hours of ten a.m. and four p.m. No, I definitely do not want to eat outdoors. Yes, I do own not one but two pairs of enormous, wraparound sunglasses that fit over my regular clip-on sunglasses. No, I’m not joking, I really do hate those bloody endless days when it’s still light out at nine o’clock at night. Yes, I often wish my Cameron ancestors had managed to stick it out in the misty highlands of Scotland where wool is always the right choice.

So yeah, great, woohoo, it’s spring. See you in October.