a peek inside the fishbowl

23 May, 2007

What I did with my list of simple pleasures

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Says Emma, this morning before school: “I just checked outside to make sure there are no squashed birds on the road.” Thanks bird patrol girl!

I will get to the part about the (unsquashed) bird in a bit, but first I wanted to share my yesterday with you. 

After writing yesterday’s post I decided that I was going to focus and do a few of the things I had mentioned. So that’s why I found myself doing an extra load of laundry late in the afternoon hanging it on the line at 4:00.

If freshly-washed, line-dried sheets make me so happy why don’t I do it more often?

I also managed to squeeze in: outdoor florals. Sun on my face. Sitting on the front stoop, watching Sarah play. Satisfying gardening work. Singing to a good/loud song on the car stereo. And the icing on the cake, those sheets. Ahh.

I spent the bulk of the morning working in the backyard. I used the same weeding technique I always do … weed a patch here, weed a patch there, with no real strategy in mind. I practice Attention Deficit Disorder Gardening. I am easily – cheerfully even – distracted by large weeds. To me they are trophy weeds, and I feel a particular ping of happiness if I successfully snag a trophy weed.

I think I need my own garden brigade, a team of weeders who’ll fan out and work through my flower beds in a more systematic fashion. I am tempted to ask a few people I know, offer them lunch and cold beverages in return for a few hours of labour. Hmm. Any takers? :)

After lunch I went to the Home Depot garden centre for the second time this season. My first trip netted four bags of pine bark/wood chip mix. Little did I realize at the time that I was three or four bags too short. So I had to go back. It since it is nearly impossible for me to leave such a place without buying something else, I also grabbed two round CFL bulbs and a never-seen before hot & spicy oregano plant.

I dumped the bark in my garden, planted the oregano, as well as some basil and nasturtium seeds, replaced the light bulbs … all this between loads of laundry. It felt good to have such a productive day.

After dinner (which consisted of scrambled eggs and various leftover meats… WHO HAS TIME TO COOK WHEN GARDENING NEEDS TO BE DONE??) Emma (with Mark’s help) had homework to do, so Sarah and I took a walk around the neighborhood.

It was just the two of us. We had no route in mind, it was just us, out and about. We raced down the sidewalk. I shook the branches of flowering crabapple trees and watched the petals rain down on her upturned face and hair. We put our faces in lilac blooms. We picked handfuls of fuzzy dandelions and blew them out on the count of three, and I watched Sarah spin around, arms wide, as the mist of tiny fluffs hovered on a restful breeze, twinkling in the light of a setting sun. Oh, it felt so good to be alive.

When we arrived home it was time to get ready for bed. Emma was still doing her homework. Sarah was in her pyjamas when the doorbell rang. It was our neighbor and her children. They were fundraising and asked if we could donate. As an aside they asked us if we had a cardinal nest in the yard. We don’t. Not that we know of anyway. But sure enough, the she was, a very young (but feathered) cardinal was hopping around our front lawn and flower beds. She must have fallen out of her nest. Mr. And Mrs. Cardinal alternated between swooping around and giving us the business, or perching very near and watching us very closely. At one point Mark had to shepherd junior off the road. At another point she hopped right up to me and nestled in the bottom part of my pantleg. The girls squealed with surprise and joy. It was adorable.

But we couldn’t locate a nest, and ultimately decided that the little bird was better off in the care of her parents. The last we saw she was in our next-door neighbor’s shrubbery.

This morning Emma checked the road for squashed baby cardinals. Thankfully, there were none. After the kids went to school I too looked around for the cardinal family. They weren’t hard to find. They were across the street. The parents were still swooping and fussing. Their baby was halfway up a cedar hedge that borders the sidewalk. I hope she makes it okay.

3 Responses to "What I did with my list of simple pleasures"

1 | Porter

May 23rd, 2007 at 12:14 pm


I only had time to check out a few blogs today and of course yours was the first! Two thoughts. One, I have a clothes line and I LOVE it (I know for a fact that some of my neighbours don’t love my clothes line)…and I use it from March until October…sometimes November. I love to hang all of my linens, they are so fresh and lovely when they come off the line.
Second thought, I need to go back and read your previous post again when I have more time. Once again your posts get me to stop and smell the roses. Thanks

2 | BeachMama

May 23rd, 2007 at 3:34 pm


How awesome that you set out to do a bunch of the things you love to do. I too love laundry from the line, but since we need laundry trees here and I never remember to buy one, it doesn’t get hung out very often. I am going to make a note to try to remember to pick on up.

3 | liss76

May 24th, 2007 at 9:56 am


re: mulch

Have you heard of That Compost Gal? They deliver, a % goes to the Cancer Society, and I find the quality/price is better than the stuff I tend to find elsewhere.

I can dig up the info for you, if you’d like. We’re about to put in a big order.

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  • andrea tomkins: Nope. The jar is on our window sill! It's getting the same dark/light cycle they'd have if they were on the outdoor side of the window. :)
  • Jennifer: That is really cool. I was wondering if you kept it outdoors? There is research on hatching monarchs indoors that it compromises them. They need the
  • Ted Benkhe: Jim Burns made a great point re visitation. I,m sure that the peace park will present very well after the volunteers who maintain it have worked th
  • andrea tomkins: I'm glad you find it restful Bonnie! I didn't on that day. :)
  • Bonnie Upton: I have a true love of this place. I drive to and from Ottawa from the NewmArket area to visit my sister snd now my son who attended uOttawa and has c
  • Amy: That sounds fantastic! As with most travelling, parts are much more comfortable when you're telling them afterwards, but they make a good story.
  • andrea tomkins: If I had to pick, Grundy wins! :)

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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