A Few Snippets

I love this little prayer. It speaks to me about the human condition. I reflect on the message and it somehow gives me hope, joy and peace that although we can disappoint others and ourselves, make mistakes and have regrets, we also celebrate and delight in the joy of each other. As long as we have life, we have the opportunity to mend our fences and express our love and appreciation. Thank you to my all weather friends. With love, Trudy


We give thanks for our friends.

Our dear friends.

We anger each other.

We fail each other.

We share this sad earth, this tender life, this precious time.

Such richness. Such wildness.

Together we are blown about.

Together we are dragged along.

All this delight.

All this suffering.

All this forgiving life.

We hold it together.

From The Prayer Tree by Michael Leunig




1:) “Anyone can slay a dragon,

he told me, but try waking up

every morning & loving

the world all over again.

That’s what takes a real hero .”  From “Real Hero” by Brian Andreas


2:)“to love a person

is to learn

the song

that is in their


and to sing it to them

when they have

forgotten” (unknown)


3:) “Providence has hidden a charm in difficult undertakings which is appreciated only by those who dare to grapple with them.”  Anne-Sophie Swetchine


With thanks to you all, dear readers. Warmest wishes from me, Trudy


Counterfactuals – an interesting study


Have you ever compared yourself to the fantasy of what you imagined your life would be like by age X and been disappointed? Two examples from Big Think in neuropsych:

I wish I had taken that other job instead of this one 10 years ago – my life would be so much better if I had.

I wish I would have gotten the part in that high school play, maybe I could have gotten into a theatre school and became an actor…

Both of these examples have the ideology that if you had made different choices, your life right now would be improved…This is known as upward counterfactual thinking and it can lead to current and future depression.

Downward counterfactual thinking tends to be more associated with psychological health

According to a 2000 study, downward counterfactual thinking can be linked with better psychological health compared to upward counterfactual thinking. More importantly, in cases where downward counterfactual thinking did lead to negative feelings, those feelings acted as something of a motivator for people to take productive actions to better their current situation.

  • I’m so thankful I studied secondary education in university instead of psychology like I had originally planned – I love teaching high school kids and I never would have gotten to do that…
  • I’m so happy I left David when I got the chance, I can’t imagine still being in an unhappy marriage with someone who doesn’t support me…

In these examples, we see the idea that if you had made different choices your life would not be as good as it is right now.

This week I encountered this term – counterfactuals –  in a short piece by Oliver Burkeman.

Choose the right counterfactual:

“Whenever you feel bad about yourself – for not accomplishing enough with the day, for instance, or for not being good enough at some skill you value highly – you’re implicitly comparing yourself with some other, “counterfactual” version of yourself. Often, that other version is a perfectionistic fantasy: the imaginary you who’d have got twice as much done today, or who’s as good at relationships/personal finances/parenting as you always thought you’d be by this point in life. So there’s a measure of liberation to be found simply by choosing a different comparison. Why judge your accomplishments today against some perfectly productive version of yourself, rather than by comparison to the you who could have stayed in bed, eating crisps? Why judge your money management skills against the imaginary multimillionaire you, instead of who you were a decade ago? These perspective-shifting tricks won’t solve your psychological issues in one fell swoop. But they can provide breathing space, a little room for manoeuvre – and some days that’s all you need.”


I found this piece intriguing and realistic. Not necessarily anything brand new, but wise words presented in a way that grabbed my attention. And so very people friendly, which I always appreciate. I suspect this is why I relate to Burkeman’s musings- he is favourably pre-disposed to the business of being human. No finger wagging. No formulas to improve. Rather, like an artist, you aren’t adding things to your painting rather you are noticing what you can take away. And there it is; you are left with the essentials.

It would be easy for me to consider all the “what if’s.”  But in the end, I have nothing to gain. My life is exactly how it is. “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.” William Bruce Cameron (often attributed to Einstein)

And what counts most for me is truly priceless. Our lives do not need to be perfect to live a good life. I am grateful everyday and I wouldn’t trade any of it – joys or sorrows, for the world.


1:) Health Checks During Exteme Heat Events This is a practical document for understanding what to do in extreme heat. (thank you Rob and also for today’s beautiful photos from the westcoast)

2:) A little summer music by Carrie Newcomer A Simple Change of Heart

3:) “It is alright to be exactly what you are, who you are, where you are. Right here, right now.” Read the  entire poem, Right Here, by Dane Anthony. Click here.

4:) Last, but not least, my thanks. May you all have the strength and courage to keep placing one foot in front of the other. And may you have many loving, and joy-filled moments. Warmest wishes, Trudy

“Come, My Friends, Let’s Sing and Dance All Night Long” Ryokan

A poem from the book Dewdrops On a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan (1758 – 1831) Translated by John Stevens

I love all of Ryokan’s poems; this one especially speaks to me of summer and special occasions.

How can I possibly sleep

This moonlit evening?

Come, my friends,

Let’s sing and dance

All night long.


Stretched out,


Under the vast sky:

Splendid dreams

Beneath the cherry blossoms.


Wild roses,

Plucked from  fields,

Full of croaking frogs:

Float them in your wine

And enjoy every minute!

PS (float the roses, not the frogs) haha

Dance by the Light of the Moon

This poem recently came to mind as my daughter and her cousin are in Paris and my son and daughter-in-law are in bliss on a small sunny gulf island on the west coast of Canada. Wildly different places in every way with entirely different yet magnificent possibilities for loving the night. This poem reminds me how, now and then, we just need to say yes to the awesomeness of the balmy starlit night and forego sleep as we dance by the light of the moon. (or the light of the Eiffel tower at midnight)

And furthermore, I feel gifted yesterday and today with stunning images of outer space from the James Webb Space Telescope. I’m sure that you have all seen them but just in case here is a link. When we look up into the night sky we can picture so much more than what is visible to the naked eye.

Our birthdays and the birthdays of those we love are a perfect time to take the temperature of our lives. For instance, my temperature today is full of joy and love because my son Rob is celebrating his 53rd Birthday. And because I am a meaning maker I find it significant that the images from the Webb Telescope were released at this time. Why? Because the day I brought Rob home from the hospital, was the day the first human walked on the moon. And I was excited, enthusiastic and in love with this little baby and the possibilities for his lifetime.

I still am.

Not in a simple-minded way but rather in a curious and questioning and action-taking way. Things look dire right now in the world but science itself confirms that we don’t know the whole picture; we don’t have all the answers and there are many possibilities to be discovered and uncovered. If you are reading this you are still alive so there is every reason to have hope. And as you read, there are brilliant and also ordinary people in every part of our globe working to solve problems and to prevent them. Doing what they can to make things better and not be a hindrance.

Life was never designed to be easy, from what I see, but it works best when we all do our part. And part of that is not to succumb to despair but to wake up, get up, and ask what can I do today in our little tiny corner of the world to make things a little better for others.  And don’t forget your own dear selves.

Sorry to make you blush Rob, but I’m going for it. Kindness, curiosity, problem solver, cyclist, photographer, “writer” whiskey connoisseur, tech wizard, beloved and devoted uncle, researcher, life partner of Allison of the wildflower garden, the best son, (and grandson), and even a friend of the deer. (Or so it seems when this guy appeared just outside the breakfast room this morning.

I am ever so grateful to be your mother and that you are celebrating another birthday today, July 13th. Thanks to Zoom, WhatsApp, and every other communication device I can almost taste the delicious birthday cake and I get to be part of the festivities, toasts, and laughter.

The banner photo is Allison’s birthday card for Rob, a paper wildflower garden made with skill and love.

Ordinary Days, and special moments, are not to be ignored or missed. These are the things that count the most.

Happy Birthday, Rob. I’m so glad you were born. I love you to the stars and back.


1:) I am in favor of splurging with words while we can and while our loved ones are still alive. Words are powerful. They can be used as gifts or as weapons. I want to learn to use mine more wisely.

2:) Sing while there’s voice left. We mostly don’t get the fact that we are mortal. We know everyone else is mortal, of course. :-))

3:) I invite you to tell someone you love that you love them. No reason to keep them guessing.

4:) May this season of summer not slip away unnoticed. And finally, I am so very grateful that you keep showing up here each week. I send my warmest and best wishes to you all. Take heart. Find the beauty and spend time with people whose company you enjoy. As always, Trudy



Wild About WildFlowers

No matter what else is going on, whether I am tired, feeling flat, grumpy, or anxious when I see the incredible beauty and carefreeness of simple wildflowers my heart bursts. If I were a deer I might lie down on the ground and start munching. This unsophisticated, unmanicured, splash of randomness does me in.  I cannot feel anything but pure unadulterated joy.

There are other things that also impact my spirits. Take this boathouse, otherwise known as the Ottawa Rowing Club, where my grandson goes to rowing camp this summer. If you examine it closely you see it is a little shabby and probably needs sprucing up. However, all I see is the blue, and yellow, the open door, and the familiar design from somewhere in my childhood memory. It leaves me with a sense of comfort and ease. Twice a day, I drop off and pick up Rowan, and I receive this gift of the ordinary and the mundane. Lucky for me, it stirs my soul.


Recently, I heard an interview on CBC Tapestry with Cynthis Wallace, speaking about the concept of moral distress, and finding respite and beauty in the mundane activities of life.

(Moral distress is a term first used to describe experiences of health care workers and nurses back in the 80’s. “It is a feeling of exhaustion or concern or fatigue, or even anxiety and depression that manifests when a person sees something wrong but doesn’t have the power to fix it. And maybe they have a sense of what would fix the problem, but they’re not the one with the authority to make that happen.”)


A Balm to the Soul

She goes on to describe that a balm to the soul can simply be making something beautiful or doing something just for the sake of beauty. Dr. Wallace, an English professor, tells how following a health incident, she returned from  hospital and “…ordered some embroidery kits. And they won’t make anything useful. But in the evenings, I’ve been cuddling with my kids on the couch and just stitching images of flowers on cloth. And that activity has been so soothing- both the activity of making something and the activity of making something that’s only purpose is to be lovely…and her husband makes sourdough bread that feeds them. Healing can be found in these kids of acts of creation and making.

I invite you to mosey around these July days and take a moment to breathe in the beauty that catches your attention. Don’t take any of it for granted. Just notice what causes a little flicker in your heart and for once in your life, stand still and stare. Or make something just for the love of it. Play a little.


1:) Here is a little something that anyone can do – a splash of colour- called Breathe With Me. I learned about this from Emma Rooney at Blooming Caravan, where you inhale a breath and on your outbreath you paint a line. Take a look at the video and scroll down the page to see more. I took a few minutes this morning to play with this idea, on a sheet of paper with a brush and some colour. You can use markers or whatever you have on hand.  Breathe With Me  And here is a separate link for a video that was made at the UN and Central Park in the fall of 2019. I include it because I find the website slightly awkward to find your way around.

2:) A song for you A Beautiful Day by Joshua Radin

3:) A sweet story: On a fairly regular basis I do “test kitchen” at my daughter’s home. In other words, I try a new recipe and invite honest feedback. I know it will be edible but I want to know who likes it, shall we repeat it, or never try it again? My grandson, the rower, recently suggested that I only trust his feedback, because he will be truthful.  In fact, he said, “never trust dad.” (my son-in-law) “Why not,” I asked, my curiosity piqued. “Because,” Rowan explained, “Dad will always tell you, ‘I love it, Trudy. It’s the best!'” “So, Nana, you just can’t trust that kind of feedback.”  I suspect there might be a teeny bit of self-interest in his caution.haha

4:) Here we are in a new month and I thank you for coming by. A special shout out to Rob for many beautiful photos of Allison’s wildflower garden. Warmest wishes to you all and please bear in mind that the sum of small joys adds up to make a beautiful life.