a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Jun, 2016

Moment of bliss #021

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Moments of bliss

Trees above

I was in the garden yesterday, determined to do a bit of yard work. I find yard work to be overwhelming at the best of times. We actually have a fair-sized lot and when we moved here (almost 20 years ago!) and we inherited sizable flower beds. Unfortunately, they aren’t nearly as nice as they were when we moved in. The previous owners had an English cottage garden theme going on with swaths of flowers planted in a spectacularly co-ordinated fashion. We were never able to keep the garden looking like that. Frankly, it’s a challenge just to keep it weed-free. My thinking is that if I spend 30 minutes out there every day I can get a better grip on yard maintenance and not let it get away from me so much. So that’s what I did yesterday. The problem is that my approach is highly unorganized. It is the very opposite of SYSTEMATIC. Basically, something catches my eye and I’ll do that until I see something else that needs my immediate attention. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. (Until I get tired and toss the garden tools aside.)

I usually begin with watering (it always starts with watering, because that takes no time at all) and then I inevitably spy some weeds that need to be yanked out. Then there are more weeds further along. The next thing I know I’ll be dividing a plant or trimming a tree. This is what happened yesterday. It started with “just one tiny branch” and that lead to another branch and that lead to more pruning and all of a sudden I found myself surrounded by deadwood and dried foliage.

After awhile (read: there was a pile of wood around my ankles) I started getting sweaty and hot. Bits of dead cedar were sticking to my skin and in my hair. So, I stepped over the dead branches, got a cold beer, and retired to the outdoor chaise lounge. It was heavenly. Of course, someone came over right away and made herself comfortable:

My garden helper

By that time, our yard was filled with shade. The birds were chirping and flitting between the trees and the bird bath. I was still, and they didn’t notice me watching them. The wind rustled through the branches and occasionally pushed them aside to let some sunshine stream through. I was in my own shady oasis, and it felt wonderful.

Related: are pansies the happiest flower in the world or what?

Pansies have happy faces

I took a deep breath, and then another.

I savoured the moment and turned it over in my mind, determined to lock it away and make it last as long as I could. Experts say that being mindful is key to happiness and I think they’re right. Even now, as I’m writing this, I can conjure up the feeling of bliss.

2 Responses to "Moment of bliss #021"

1 | Sarah McCormack

June 17th, 2016 at 9:11 am


that is the way I garden :) the best way….

2 | andrea tomkins

June 22nd, 2016 at 9:15 am


What can I say? It makes me happy! :)

comment form:


Have a great summer at Saunders Farm!

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Expert lice removal services in Ottawa with Lice Services Canada

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Liz Dick: Just came across this forum now. Funny after all these years I've never seen it. Rummoli has been a family favourite of ours for four generations.
  • Molly: A great read, Andrea! I have been to a few estate sales - they can be fascinating. I am far from a minimalist but I am always trimming the amount
  • Lynn: Perhaps this could inspire a series of posts about Special Things - the history and what makes them precious. Going to give this some thought! Thanks
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive The stories of our stuff - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] we commissioned Dave Allston, a local historian, to compile for us awhile back. (I wrote about it here, if you’re curious.) I was fair
  • andrea tomkins: I try not to look! ;) New nightstands would help the problem, for sure. They're just not in the cards right now. Unfortunately, everything I really li
  • Marianne: The bed not being centred would definitely bother me. I'd solve it by opting for nightstands on legs, or installing floating shelves. But Id probabl
  • andrea tomkins: We actually won it in a blog giveaway a few years ago. It's made by Phillips. I really like it! It has a few different alarm sounds too, all are gentl

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! 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.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


E-book alert!

Shopping Embargo e-book promo

My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

Piper is on Instagram

On the nightstand

On this date in the archives

All hail the mighty Twitter