An unbearable self-realization

It’s the end of April and it still doesn’t feel like spring in the Ottawa Valley.

The weather people still use “flurries” in their forecast vocabulary. I think the landlord has already turned off the heat in our building. Time to write another admonishing email.

My inner grumpy bear wanted to sleep from January 2nd to March 20th, to burn off all the fat that I so efficiently added on over the previous months.

Just getting to the day job by public transit and home again during the winter was gruelling. Instead of having the luxury to sleep during those dark months, I binged on NetFlix and nibbled on tasty treats when I got home.

Black cat ipad bear sketch

“Oh, Mistress. I can’t bear to look!”

A couple of weeks ago, when my stretchy Mom Jeans were feeling snug, I decided I had enough. I pushed myself out for morning walks around the neighbourhood. It was time well spent instead of in front of a screen.

I wrote motivational reminders and posted them around le petit apartment.

It has been nine days straight of getting out there – even in the rain! What I like about the early morning walks is that the fresh air and chattering birds provide added inspiration to my semi waking state. I still have to wear layers and gloves. Things are still brown and grey. There is hope that Spring will come…


Early morning stroll,
I tiptoe through the dew worms,
drenched on the sidewalk.

Awash in birdsong
umbrella drum taps with rain
coaxing out the green

It’s hard work convincing your difficult, stubborn self to get out there – as weather permits. If you can’t, there’s always that yoga mat waiting to be unrolled again.

Thanks for dropping by. What are you doing to sweep away the winter funk and dust?



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Yes you can complain about the weather but

You can complain, commiserate with other locals but after that you just suck it up – or write silly poetry.

black cat at laptop

Mr. Snuggles asking for some #caturday affection – or more Fancy Feast

It was early on Saturday morning and I was preparing to venture out for the day. The cats were fed and one took to her favourite spot for an after-breakfast nap. The other took to my lap for attention and to commiserate about the sh*tty weekend weather  forecast.

I took to writing a humorous ditty about the weather, cats and menopause memory.

He comes to warm his balcony toes, 
and bless me with >^..^< his cold, wet nose.
The weather forecast looks a mess,
I swear I don’t know how to dress!
Rain gear, layers and boots by chance?
As long as I don’t forget my pants.

TAJ April 14, 2018

Hope you liked that. You might also like a recent post at Deep Blonde Thoughts where I opine about the state of Ottawa’s public transportation services. If you’re a bus mouse like me, you can surely relate.

Thanks for dropping by and not waking the Tabby.



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Adapting to change

It took a while for Miss Geneva to warm up to the new arrival.

She shares my preferences for keeping things calm and unchanged.

After that upset last month with the contractors, I didn’t want to cause the cats more stress. I figure this recent change was a positive one, adding comfort and colour to our humble home.

After the sniff test, she soon became acquainted with the quilt I added as a throw on her futon, her window perch.

tabby cat on quilt on futon

Miss Geneva chattering at birds

You can read about how this quilt came into our home, a result of me pushing my limits with social anxieties last month.

That’s about all the writing I have done lately. How about you?

Thanks for dropping by – and not disturbing the Tabby.


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It all started when I noticed a strange smell

I was relieved that my downstairs neighbours did not blame me for their apartment dripping with water last week.

On a related note, most of my writing activities lately have been polite emails to my landlord, and instructional signs to ensure the comfort of my feline roommates.

door sign for the landlord and contractors

My front door sign for the landlord and contractors

It started a couple of weeks ago when I noticed an odor lingering in the master bedroom’s powder room.

After repeated visits from the workmen to locate the smell and apply unrelated fixes, it became stressful knowing strangers were in my home while I was away. Also, when I would arrive home after work, I had to go on a search for the cats. They also do not like loud noises and strangers in the home.

In wanting to make sure my darlings had the run of the apartment, I placed postit notes on bedroom doors and the inside passage between sections. I even posted a sign on the front door for the workers to see on the way out.

door sign for contractors

Another sign for the contractors, on the way out

Finally, the smell went away after the workers replaced the flange / gasket thingie under the toilet. In the process though, and I assume after they turned the water off then on again, one of the water pipes burst.

My neighbours soon experienced water gushing into their powder room and along the ceiling in their common areas. They called the landlord. Yikes!

The coordinator sent me an email that there was a “leaking issue” and could I please not use the powder room over the weekend. Sure…

When I arrived home after a Saturday outing, I noticed holes cut in my powder room wall. I assumed they needed to do that to locate the leaky pipe.

The workers had used my good broom to sweep up debris. I itched to make another sign but decided it was best just to hide it and leave the “old broom” accessible for their next visit.

The repair work in my apartment is done, the holes are patched and painted over. I think I’ll wait until the long weekend to clean up and relocate my toiletries. I am lucky in that I have the main bathroom to perform my ablutions. It’s a minor inconvenience considering what my neighbours have experienced!

Thanks for dropping by. If you have time, take a gander at the page for my 2011 novel. If not, here’s a picture of a cat.

Black cat in front of laptop

Mr. Snuggles asking for Second Breakfast



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Cats and Dogs

The furry roommates were suspicious about my housecleaning efforts last weekend.

Perhaps they were concerned by all the talk of The Year of the Dog.

cats in play structure hidie box

Cats hiding in their room


I reassured them that we would not allow a drooling dog live in our home yet I wanted to make preparations for the arrival of the lunar new year and the Year of the Dog on February 16th. I did this by performing a winter cleanup, a ceremonial cleanse according to a local Feng Shui Master’s advice.

In addition to writing things out as a form of therapy, I embrace and respect Feng Shui as the art of living in a clean, harmonious space. It also helps to break up the winter blahs and pull me out of the winter blues.

Illustration for Year of the Dog

Illustration for Year of the Dog by Gisele

If you are familiar with my 2011 novel, you will understand my attraction to the Chinese Zodiac since my Muskoka childhood. Although I did not grow up in the same culture where they use this occasion to honour deities and ancestors, I find the Lunar New Year a good opportunity to cleanse, freshen one’s living space – and head space.

Black cat at iPad on table

Snuggles wants to make sure we have a dog-proof plan

So… how are you celebrating the Lunar New Year?

To learn how my cleansing and reorganizing efforts turned out, you can read the details at my pen name’s blog.

Thanks for dropping by!


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Winter is sucking and blowing

January is almost over.

I feel gratitude for the weekends, volunteer opportunities and family outings. I am tired of the hurdles and obstacles of getting around the city.


bench in a bus shelter surrounded by snow

Winter bus shelter experience

I am thankful for the weekend break, for a visit from one of my adult children.

I am not pleased with the whiny cat who does not understand that 4:30 a.m. is too early to get me up on a Saturday.


He almost looks thankful for the breakfast service. Either that or he’s glad to warm up his balcony toes on my lap.

At least February is coming soon as is the refreshing promise of the Lunar New Year. Wander over to the Year of the Rabbit blog for hopeful readings:

One consolation of being dragged out of bed early is  witnessing with awe the stages of a winter sunrise.

winter sunrise

Winter sunrise

Thanks for dropping by. Have a nice weekend.




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Writing pleas about bags in trees

My recent writing activities included a poem about a plastic bag stuck in a nearby tree. 

The sight of bags and other litter stuck in trees makes me sad. How about you?

Oh plastic bag in nearby tree,

How my disappointment hangs with thee.

You yank and waggle in the blowing snow.

How I wish you would just let go!

Let go! Let go, I beg of you,

Because you’re ruining my ****ing view!

Poem - plastic bag stuck in tree

Poem – plastic bag stuck in tree

Last year, one of the offspring helped me remove a bag from one of the trees. I had purchased a 12 foot tree trimming pole just for that task. It worked. This time though, the bag was out of reach.

Writing this poem helped me express and share my frustration. People thought it was clever and funny. It was. It was but I still felt sad about the spoiled view, the symbolic, careless disrespect for nature.

My next writing task was an email to my landlord while I took a sick day from work. A combination of disrupted sleep due to car alarms sounding unnecessarily during the night and the sight of this bag inspired me to use my words, my power of persuasion through writing.

It worked. By the next evening, one of the landlord’s groundskeepers had removed the bag from the tree.

When I opened the blinds the next morning, Miss Geneva and I were pleased to see that the bag was gone.

Tabby cat on window seat

Miss Geneva Tabby on her window perch

This confirms that you can use your writing skills to entertain, to elicit feelings AND encourage action. Of course, I promptly sent a follow-up message with a big “thank you” to the landlord and crew.

Thanks for dropping by.


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