There is always something to smile about… seriously. Forget the rest & just be happy with you.


Hug a dog. Smooch your darling. Giggle with a child. Play a naughty word in Scrabble. Laugh at a joke. Groan at a pun. Hog the brownie. Go to the park and SWING for the clouds. Marvel at someone old. They are wise and wonderful. Listen to the waves crash. Sink your toes in the sand. Smell the roses. Don’t forget the daisies, weeds are flowers too. Soak up the sun. Be awestruck by art. Let the thunder turn you on. And always remember to breathe… just breathe…

January, thief of souls

We make our resolutions, breathe sighs of commitment and contentment. At the stroke of midnight, all will be well. As long as we close our eyes and ears and tech toys to the realities of life on this earthly planet.

Not possible, don’t even try.

Indeed, this year of the monkey, 2016, has opened with January thieving souls left and right. Beloved musicians, writers, actors, family, friends … dollar dropping, oil falling, stocks sinking, jobs disappear, weather destroys, terror rules. Loss.

And found.

Babies born, refugees welcomed, volunteers help, jobs appear, homes rebuilt, families heal, animals rescued, smiles shared. Blue Monday passed, daylight stretches, February hovers on the horizon. Love conquers all. ❤








Sing a Song of Spring


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Speak softly, gentle cedars,

a lullaby to the winged children.


Those who presume to

haunt your privet boughs, nestled in

cradles of sticks and straw.

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Those who thieve the

spice and sunshine

from your leafy limbs to feed

their tiny souls.

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Those who braved the perils of snow

with feathered fortitude

and those who return only now,

when the season is warm

and ripe to fill the nest.

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Scarlet robes and plain janes,

poets who whisper in the sighing wind

and sentinels who scream at dawn.

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Hushed be the melody

and tender the sway of branches

that soothes these innocents in your keep,

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as April joins the chorus.

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Simply Wild: Tom Savage lovingly interprets nature as art.

With a nod to nature, natives and the spiritual universe, Chatham, Ontario artist Tom Savage, depicts life in the natural landscape from a unique perspective. Untamed. Poignant. Thought-provoking. His signature images of wildlife at home on the tundra appear pleasingly simple at a glance, yet closer study reveals inspired complexities of construction and much more in play than at first meets the eye.

You are invited to appreciate and fall in love with this wonderful collection of fine Canadian art at Tom Savage’s new exhibition – aptly titled: Simply Wild. The show takes place at the ARTspace Gallery in Chatham ( from Nov. 13 – Dec 6, 2014 and opens with a public reception on Thursday, November 13 at 7 pm. Choose a piece of Tom’s inspired work as a gift for someone special; and/or a beautiful addition to your own home or office space.

Here are a few samples to enjoy from the collection of Tom Savage. Simply Wild!

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(images courtesy Donna Nolan Photography)

Confession: I DO love my BlackBerry!

Confession. I’ve had my BlackBerry Curve phone since January 2013 and, for me, it’s perfect. I love the tactile pleasure of running my fingertips over the raised Qwerty keys; the intimate screen size that isn’t visible at a glance to over-the-shoulder browsers sneaking a peek. This little feel-good gem gives me everything I need and nothing I don’t.

Honestly, in all this time I’ve only had two mildly irritating issues come up – both of which I learned to simply ignore. The first is not BB-centric. It’s the result of accepting someone else’s old phone number when you sign up for your new phone. Happens to many of us, regardless of the phone make or model.

In my case, the previous owner “John Smith” (not), seems to have disappeared leaving behind a slew of unpaid creditors. I’ve never met him, never heard of him, but as long as I’ve had this phone (number), the calls have been coming in like clockwork. You’d think after my initial screaming fits, weeks of pleading with companies to delete my number from their files and their agreeing to do so, followed by months of my not responding at all, they’d get the point. Nope. You almost have to admire their futile persistence…

Then, there’s issue number two. The camera. I’m a bit of a photography nut, self-taught, with a knack for knocking out some pretty good pics on occasion. Also, being a writer, the convenience of a camera phone is great for documenting images, when the go-to Fuji isn’t at hand.

I have to say, I’ve never been really ‘enamoured’ with the quality from my BB cam. It wasn’t bad in the beginning, but recently it’s gotten worse and worse, to the point where every image is in a blur – like a watercolour painting – very frustrating when I see the money shots everyone else is snapping with their ‘other’ phones. Lately, I’ve actually complained  aloud that “I love my BlackBerry but the camera sucks” and avoided taking pictures when I REALLY wanted to capture the moment.

Today, while waiting for Mom at her dental appointment, I wandered to the edge of the parking lot and, through the trees, spied the gorgeous Grand River – racing along turbulent, swollen and muddy after the recent rainstorm. Wish I had my camera, I thought. Oh, what the hell, I’ll use the phone, it’ll just make it look muddier.

Click… garbled grey haze. Lovely.



Maybe the lens is dirty, I thought. Really? After 18 months, this is the first time you thought to check?

Hmmm… Take off the pretty blue protective case, blow on the lens ‘eye’, rub it against your sleeve, now, PEEL OFF that wee piece of plastic with the coloured tab. Oh shit.

Take another photo.



Smile with absolute glee. Then look for the nearest rock to crawl under, whilst apologizing to the world for being an utter fool.

I DO love my BlackBerry!

Confession, it’s good for the soul 😉

Of flowers, fun & Bloody Words

splash of red

 In an Artist’s Garden

She had a little paint brush

She dipped it in some blue

Then put it to the canvas

And a sky came into view.


She swished it out

And dipped again

This time in crimson red

And drew a figure crookedly

That obviously was dead.


To green, she moved, inspired now

To see what might become.

Why look – the artist mocks the corpse

Each has a verdant thumb.


The brush daubs quickly to and fro

A garden it creates

Of peonies, hollyhocks and such

Oh what a pretty place.


And now the body’s hidden by shrubs

Hydrangea blushing pink

She prays for rain to wash the stain

And cause them bones to sink.      LLS


Bloody Words is Canada’s oldest and largest gathering of mystery readers and authors. Founded in 1999, the conference has become the June event for people who enjoy genre conventions. Alas, this year’s event – June 6 to 8 in Toronto – marks the last of its kind. We intend to see it out with due hoopla and a bloody good time!!

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For the love of dirt…

Not only are we fed up with winter, we’re fed up with hearing everyone say they’re fed up with winter. So that’s it. The ‘W’ word is now stricken from my blogcabulary until at least November. Now, on to a much sexier topic – garden porn.

Are you lusting over a landscape reno; yearning to run fingers across the cool, damp earth and squeeze a luscious fistful? I am. Especially after a recent visit to the National Home Show and Canada Blooms that left me weak in the knees and longing to play. Yes, I have a dirty mind, but hey, just thinking about being out all day planting seed in fertile ground gets a girl hot and bothered. Can’t wait to slather on the lotion (SPF), lace up my kick-grass boots and crawl into beds. Can you dig it?

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Grin & ‘Bear’ It!



Today in southwestern Ontario, we awoke to another bout of swirling snow. A persistent winter monologue droning on and on. Blah, blah, blah… Collectively speaking, I’m coining it “a monotony of snow,” ranking right up there with a slither of snakes in popularity.

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It’s hard to ramp up the enthusiasm to take pics. Yippee, another beautiful little goldfinch in the snow. One more shot of the adorable dog – sprinkled with white – and bored out of his canine mind. What seemed a beautiful, pristine winter landscape at Christmas is now just cold and mostly colourless. Yawwwwwnnnnn…


Wait a sec. What’s this? Company on the back deck?

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A polar bear?! I kid you not !
This marvellous guy (or gal) is truly a work of nature. No helping hands involved.

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Imagine that! I must have been snow blind not to see him there… stretched out big as life… right outside the back door.


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Feel like I’ve ‘dyed’ and gone to heaven!

Yesterday, I made a spur of the moment decision, with the nudging of some very encouraging salonettes, to wash that grey, downtrodden, despairing soul right out of my hair. After a lifetime of trying to please ‘the others,’ I finally did something just for me. How selfish is that!

You probably wonder why I’m making such a fuss about adding a few honey-coloured highlights to my hair. The thing is, you’re hearing from a virgin in the realm of body detailing (I said detailing, stop laughing about me & the ‘v’ word). This mid-century modern vintage bod has no piercings, no tatts and, up until yesterday,  original blonde locks faded over the last decade to a rather boring shade of dead ash. So, yes, getting a dye job was a big deal.

Inspiration was rampant among the scissor hands. “You’ll love it!” they said. “Go darker,” one suggested. “Add some purple highlights for fun,” chimed in another.

“My natural colour is blonde,” said I, “that’s as wild as I get.”

So, off to ‘the back room,’ where I’m tressed up in foil packets and left to cook for awhile in my own second thoughts. Across the room, another stylist, with a cool, multi-coloured coif, is busy shampooing a client and saying, “I tell all my people, don’t worry, it’s only colour. If you don’t like it, you can change it in a couple of years.”

Hmmm… that’s what I used to tell customers, when I owned a paint store. Except, not the waiting for 2 years part.

Looking in the mirror with trepidation, I considered the implications, then did what any self-respecting, middle-aged (?) Mummsy would do. I took a selfie of my tin-wrapped head gear and texted it to my fearless kids – who are all married, some with children, and have been bugging me to do this for ages.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  times 3 was the reply. Send ‘after’ pics!

Nothing like an ego-bolstering from the loved ones. Through the looking glass, I saw the makings of an impish grin. A throwback to that free-spirit I once was and thought had been lost; discarded along with the marriage by Tyrannosaurus Ex. Maybe, she was still there, only hiding…

“It’s time,” said Betty-not-my-name, a gorgeous dark-haired Indian beauty who’d forgotten to ‘switch’ the other girl’s name card at the work station). She led me to a different chair, backing onto a sink, for the unwrapping, followed by a lovely, scalp-massaging shampoo that took every bit of concern and sent it swirling down the drain. Byeeeee…

Next, it was out to the public forum – the bright light of day shining through wall-to-wall windows, as seated next-in-lines surveyed my ‘do.’  I couldn’t look. I sat in the chair, eyes down, while Not-Betty covered me in a fresh cape and started to trim. “You look beautiful,” she said. Of course, what else would she say? At least it wasn’t “Oh no, I’m so sorry!”

At this point, the suspense was getting the best of me. Since I hadn’t heard any giggles or shrieks from the cheap seats, I dared a sneak peek and… Wow. “Who is that?” I laughed. Apparently, lightening the hair goes hand-in-hand with a lighter heart. I was, and still am, totally amazed at how a small physical change can give such an immediate emotional boost. Nothing vain about it, this was simply magical.

I walked out of the salon door that morning, a new me. Or perhaps a newer version of the long-lost me. Whatever, losing my hair-colour virginity was a fabulous experience. And while there are no plans in the near future for body piercing or ink, there is still that ‘Gas Pump Virgin’ title to deal with… Who knows, maybe there’s a chivalrous, handsome adventurer out there who wouldn’t mind giving lessons. It remains to be seen… do blondes really have more fun?

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Dressing for Dinner – Downton Style

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Enjoy an excerpt from my latest Design Feature story “Dressed for Dinner” in the new Winter issue of ARABELLA Magazine

Channel your inner Downton Abbey, as we tour a most auspicious array of dining rooms in this ARABELLA exclusive. From posh to rustic, penthouse luxe to period correct, discover the secrets of successful decor and design that will have them eating out of your… properly gloved hand. Featuring stunning room settings and professional tips on colour, lighting, furniture and more – all that’s missing is the butler. “Dinner is served.”