a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Sep, 2015

Crowded House

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Benched in Westboro

My brain has been a very crowded place lately. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, or editing someone’s writing, or talking about writing. I admit, there are times when I feel like my brain is a sponge that has been wrung out a million times and is starting to crumble at the corners, but when THAT happens I now know that I have to pull back and take care of myself for a bit.

My work-related contracts of late have been pretty fun. It’s strange when that happens. Not all writing is fun writing. When I’m asked to write about things that Expand My Horizons it gives me a sense of accomplishment, and that makes me happy.

Today, amid everything, I had a lovely moment to sit in the sunshine on the patio of my favourite coffee place. What a gift. The stars were perfectly aligned for me: I wasn’t rushing. I had my pen and notebook. It was a beautiful September afternoon. My coffee was hot, and free (!) thanks to my Frequent Caffinator Card, and I had a lovely chat with someone while I was soaking up the sun and the vitamin D.

On the way home I stopped at the store to pick up milk and butter, and I bought spicy popcorn, because hey, SPICY POPCORN. And I walked home, with the bag of cold milk bouncing along in my backpack with every step, and gratitude in my heart.


  • After years and years and years of searching we finally bought a couch. I can’t wait to show you! It’s coming next week. I hope.
  • Related: we are in the process of clearing a bunch of stuff out of our basement and it feels really good. Note to self: do this more often.
  • I spent some birthday money on a special print job via CanvasPop. It’s coming Wednesday! (Not that I’m obsessively refreshing the FedEx tracking page or anything.)
  • Once again, the garden has spiraled out of control yet I dream about starting a collection of rare and unusual hostas. Someone please stop me before I kill again! (Plants, I mean. I kill plants.)
  • I am a new shrimp taco addict. If you haven’t had one yet, please proceed.
  • I had a wonderful interview with a Stephen King expert for something I’m working on and I left so inspired that I am now compelled to revisit his books. Do you have a favourite? Tell me! The last one I read was On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
  • I am intrigued by the idea of the capsule wardrobe. (My mother is reading this and rolling her eyes because THIS IS THE WAY IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN DONE DEAR. Understood, mother. However in an era of disposable/fast fashion, it’s sadly wavered in popularity. Time to resuscitate, methinks!) Question is, can someone tell me where I can buy everything at once? And not have to sell a kidney to do it? And maybe come hold my hand? I like this style set on Pinterest as a starting point. What do you think?
  • Related: I would like to win the lottery.

6 Responses to "Crowded House"

1 | Claudette (@WriterOfWords91)

September 23rd, 2015 at 10:04 am


I want to win the lottery too. Thing is, I don’t buy the tickets so no chance…I’d rather spend the money on a coffee and have a day like you did, on a patio and sipping my caffeine.

Can’t wait to see the couch! I am also shopping and not buying couches…

2 | Misty Pratt

September 23rd, 2015 at 1:09 pm


Best Stephen King books: The Stand and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon :)

I need a couch, too.

3 | Pamela

September 23rd, 2015 at 1:23 pm


Somewhat relieved to hear that other people have the same crazy, yet exhilarating pace of life right now

4 | Stefania

September 23rd, 2015 at 4:06 pm


11/22/63 is one of my fave Stephen King books. I read it all in one weekend. Once you see the thickness of the book you’ll know it’s a great read if I could finish it in two days!

5 | andrea tomkins

September 23rd, 2015 at 5:33 pm


I have decided to start with MISERY. (!)

6 | Stefania

September 24th, 2015 at 6:49 am


Interesting start. :-)

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  • 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! :)
  • Shawn: What did u like more, Restoule or Grundy? Thank you Shawn
  • andrea tomkins: Yes! I've seen the boiling water method! I never really bothered with it because I am a lazy baker. :) It is worth finding a recipe that uses less ye
  • Amy: I made a no-knead version that didn't use a Dutch oven (I don't have one and didn't feel like investing in one just for that). You put a small contai

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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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