a peek inside the fishbowl

21 Oct, 2016


Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Awhile back I wrote a post about some lost marbles. To summarize: someone was taking them and I couldn’t figure out who. WELL. I can now say, with 100% certainty, that I know who stole them. But first, allow me to set the scene.

I spent the better part of last Sunday tidying the basement. This never-ending project weighs on me constantly. There is a lot of sorting of boxes, making hard decisions about what to keep, toss, or donate, and of course, at some point you find a stash of old photos and get lost in them. Sigh.

While I was sorting and purging I found a bag of rocks (I am not even kidding, and if you have kids you surely understand how this happens) and brought them outside into the backyard to dump them artfully into one of our flowerbeds. As I did so, I noticed something was amiss. Part of my own rock arrangement was missing.


I am not a crazy rock collector but I AM a bit of a magpie who likes pretty things. The rocks in my arrangement were found on a secluded beach while we were camping a few years ago. Imagine a beach that is OVERFLOWING with smooth, beautiful stones. We spent many hours finding the perfect ones:

Beach walking

I brought a small collection of the best beach stones home with me and had them arranged JUST SO on the top of a low stone wall that defines a small flowerbed that’s right outside our family room window.

So let’s talk about what happened on Sunday. I had just dumped out a bag of rocks (NOT my pretty beach stones, these were other rocks) and went back down to the basement. I was standing right in front of the window that looks out over the aforementioned flower bed when I saw THE SQUIRREL. His back was towards me and he was clearly munching on something. Hey, I thought. CUTE FURRY SQUIRREL! Aww! I wonder what he’s up to? That’s when he suddenly turned so I could see his profile. He had one of my stones in his mouth. (!) I rapped on the window, ran up the stairs, and chased him away.

I took a closer look at just how many of my little stones were missing. They were almost all gone. I’m guessing he had quietly smuggled around 100 stones. All of those pretty stones that had been polished by a millennia of waves crashing down upon them and trillions of grains of sand rubbing them this way and that, basically, A Product of The Ages that was now, in all likelihood, lining some squirrel nest or buried all over the back yard.

Fact: I met a squirrel who likes pretty stones as much as I do.

And THAT’S when I noticed he’d dropped the stone in his mouth. It was not one of the smaller ones either:


I sadly collected the remainder of my pretty stone collection into a jar and put it on a high shelf in the shed. I hope they’re safe there. :|

3 Responses to "MYSTERY SOLVED"

1 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive A "no trespassing" message from Piper - a peek inside the fishbowl

April 9th, 2017 at 11:32 am


[…] I knew exactly who the culprit was, too. A chipmunk had taken up residence in the stone wall that was supporting this particular flower bed and he must have spent some time excavating other entrances and exits. One was between the stones in the wall itself and another was near our A/C unit. I wasn’t too annoyed with him though. I thought that having a strawberry plant as the roof of your home was pretty nice. It was positively Smurfy! So even though I was a little worried about my plant’s survival and any potential harvest that may come of it, I just left it. (Also, it was around that time that I was dealing with a different garden-related situation in the same general area: the case of the missing marbles.) […]

2 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Finding lost things - a peek inside the fishbowl

April 30th, 2017 at 4:50 pm


[…] growth here and there. Want to know something funny? I’ve been finding my lost marbles and pretty stones, one at a time, every time I’m out in the garden. They’re almost always half-buried in […]

3 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive The things we keep - a peek inside the fishbowl

July 16th, 2018 at 4:44 pm


[…] are set up outdoors. Some of you will remember that most of these shiny stones and marbles were stolen by squirrels and buried all over the yard. Well, the other day I was walking the dog when I saw that one of my neighbours had put a large […]

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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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