My Weekend Mornings/The Toasties

My weekend mornings start the same way every Saturday and Sunday.  At 5:55 AM, the strains of “O Canada” stream through the headphones I’ve gone to bed wearing, and the urge to stand at attention is strong, but the legs aren’t awake enough to safely leap out of bed as I should.

I’ve written before about my love for the CBC Weekend Mornings radio show, a treasure for us here in the Maritimes*, so I won’t extoll its virtues again here.  But this morning’s annual Toasties Awards is my favourite show of the year.  The awards are voted on by the listeners of the program, and I’m not gonna lie: I had to do a coin-toss bracket for one of the categories, because the artists are just that good.

Sitting here with my London Fog tea (I saved my last one for the auspicious occasion) and watching the sun gradually melt the lacy frost on my windows, I’m listening to the winners of “The Young Whippersnapper Award,” et. al., and thinking about what a wealth of musical talent we are blessed to have here.  Our cultural mosaic is well-represented, and that may be my favourite part of these awards: we share with and celebrate each other.

I don’t know if the podcast links will work outside Canada (Toasties Hour 1 and Toasties Hour 2), so you may not be able to hear the magic, whimsy, and occasional silliness (meow).  But thanks to the beauty of YouTube, I will share some of my favourites (in no particular order) from the past year here below:

and my very favourite:

  • Morgan Toney – Ko’jua : Its fusion of both indigenous tradition and the Celtic sounds of Cape Breton is utterly addictive, and makes me want to finally learn to play the bodhran I’ve had sitting here for six years.  (I’ve never felt so thwarted by a stick in my life.)

Thanks for sharing a little slice of my life.  Enjoy the music, and let me know your favourites in the comments. 🙂

* “The Maritimes” — The Maritime Provinces of Canada are on the eastern coast of the country, and consist of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.  “The Atlantic Provinces” consist of the Maritimes, plus Newfoundland and Labrador.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge.

You can view other writers’ Day 7 contributions via the comments here.

Let the Sun Shine In

One of the things I love best about having a birthday in early March is that I can always count on feeling the stirrings of Spring as a gift from Nature.

Full disclosure: I’m Canadian, and I loathe winter.  (I know; I’m not sure if they’ll take back my citizenship for that or not either.)  But by the time my birthday rolls around, life on the 45th parallel is definitely getting brighter.

These tulips were given to me yesterday by my husband, and I absolutely love them.  I buried my nose in the purple bliss and took a deep breath.  The damp, earthy smell filled my nose and swept deep into my lungs, and something in me came out of dormancy.

I remember spring.

As I sit here writing at my desk, the sun is pouring in the window.  The sky still looks cold, and the snow still covers most of the ground, but winter’s days are numbered.

13 days and 18 hours, if you’re counting.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge.

You can view other writers’ Day 6 contributions via the comments here.

A Slice of Cake

Today was my 51st birthday, and it was a lovely day.  It was not a “prime birthday” (because 17 times 3 is 51), but it was pretty fine just the same.  So fine, in fact, that I’m getting this post written with less than 30 minutes to midnight.

My day began with an online writing session with a dozen or so teacher-writers writing with me.  Lunchtime saw me with my besties having fried clams while sitting in Steph’s SUV.

Today, I was showered with gifts, flowers, cake, and so many good wishes on Facebook that I could barely keep up.  I was blessed with phone calls that made me smile all the way down to a molecular level.

My generous friends also helped me surpass my birthday fundraising goal of $250 CDN for The Walden Woods Project, a nonprofit near and dear to my heart.  (Psst!  Teachers: You will find free Thoreau-related resources here.)

Now I am laying in bed, tired but happy.  I feel somewhat spoiled and very loved.

This will not be the most brilliant post I’ll publish during this month-long challenge, but it may well be the most contented.

See you tomorrow — which starts for me in 11 minutes.


This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge.

You can view other writers’ Day 5 contributions via the comments here.


Last Day of 50

One ring.  Two rings.  Then someone picked up.

”Hi,” I said.  Even I could hear the hesitation in that single syllable.  “I’m not sure how we do this now.  It’s been a long time.”

The voice on the phone was soothing.  “Tell me what you need, and I’ll see what I can do to help.”

”Well, it’s been more than a year,” I said, “so it’ll be my first time since …”

”i understand.”

After listening to a run-through of the process, I was given an appointment time forty minutes into the future.  Best to get it taken care of sooner rather than later.

When I arrived, a couple of other clients were there, both reading questions and filling  in the blanks on forms trapped by dollar-store clipboards.  The young woman behind the counter passed me my own clipboard and a pen.  “Let’s get started with this.”

I did as instructed, answered a few more questions verbally, had my temperature taken, and then followed her through the reception area and into the back room.

”You can put your coat there,” she said, gesturing to a chair.  “You said you wanted shampoo, right?”

My first haircut in over a year.  Seven inches lopped off, in easily the oddest salon experience of my life.

This is my last day being 50.  I wonder if 51 will be just as strange.


This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge.

You can view other writers’ Day 4 contributions via the comments here.


The Queen of Curbside Pick-Up

The phone vibrates and I pick it up.  “Hey, Patrick,” I say before I hear a word.

“Hello, Karen.  Your order is ready early, if you want to come get it.  Also, was there anything else you needed?”

Out of all the things that COVID-19 has brought into my life, the biggest change for me has been curbside pick-up.

Being immunosuppressed, and with multiple health conditions that put me in the “extreme risk” category, has meant that I stay in my house, or in my car, or on a beach a quarter-kilometre away from anyone else (save members of my household and a certain friend with his dog).  Curbside pick-up began as a necessity for me, but I will not be giving it up when things are a-okay again.  I simply load the dog in the car, drive Buzz (my little red Suzuki SX4, AKA the mobile bubble) up to the store’s curb, make a phone call,  open my trunk, and watch as things are loaded in.  It’s magical.

Do I need groceries?  Curbside pick-up at the Superstore.  Some white-out and more paper for my mini photo printer?  Curbside pick-up at Staples.  Out of washi tape or wooden craft discs?  Curbside pick-up at Michaels.  Need a new windshield wiper, a toaster oven, dog treats, and treadmill lubricant?  Curbside pick-up at Canadian Tire.

I didn’t realize just how much I hated shopping (and searching for specific items) until I could play with an app before going to sleep, and someone else who knows the store much better than I do takes the time to find things.  It’s like elves, or something.

Patrick at the grocery store is not an elf — he is a full-grown young man likely in his early twenties — but over the past 51 weeks since Covid arrived here, he has been one of the few friendly faces I see on a regular basis, and I am grateful for his conversation as well as his help.

Just ask those at head office who read my weekly survey responses.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge.

You can view other writers’ Day 3 contributions via the comments here.