a peek inside the fishbowl

21 Oct, 2016


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. :|

15 Oct, 2016

Weekend reading: October 15 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

Are you the kind of person who likes to get the Christmas shopping done early? Or maybe, if you’re like me, you’re not exaaaactly the type who thinks about Christmas in October BUT you love it when a great sale happens at one of your favourite Ottawa stores. :)

I recommend you jot this information down in your calendar RIGHT NOW:

wicked sale at Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's!

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s is a longtime Fishbowl patron and I’m very happy to let you know that their famous 20% off sale is ON again and it’s coming up very soon. It’s all going down October 20-23, at all locations. This sale is NOT to be missed. In fact, I’ve already done some prep work. I had a good look around the Westboro store last week and I checked out the website so my shopping game plan is already in place. (I can’t spill the beans but I’ve been scoping out board games, puzzles, and tech toys. Shh! Please don’t tell my family.)

Are you a Lego fan? You should take note of a few extra details: the sale EXCLUDES all LEGO but the store is will be offering 10X Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s Reward Points on all LEGO purchases made during the sale that can go towards a future purchase. (!)

I have more great news for fans of Tiggy’s young and old: I have a $50 gift card to give away to one lucky family. It’s very easy to win, but please read the next part carefully:

  • This giveaway is for one $50 gift card that will be given to one individual. It can be used at the sale or anytime afterwards.
  • In order for your entry to qualify let me know how you would spend your winnings in the comments below. CONFESS! Would you buy something for yourself or the kids? Check out the website to see what’s new! One entry per email address please!
  • A BONUS second entry goes to folks who leave a comment on this Facebook post as well. Just make sure you come back and let me know in a second, separate, comment that you did so.
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • If you can’t post your comment for whatever reason you can email it to andrea at quietfish dot com. Please note, I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.
  • I will draw the winning name using Random.org at 9 a.m. EST on October 21, 2016. I’ll contact the winner via email at that time and post the name here as well.
  • The winner will need to pick up the gift card at a Tiggy’s location of their choice in a timely manner.

Good luck!

p.s. Speaking of fun and games, I’d like to let my Westboro friends know that Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s is hosting a SUSHI GO tournament on Saturday, October 29. It’s a free event, open to anyone age 7 and up, but registration is required as space is limited. There’s more info on their Facebook page if you’re interested in this unique family outing. :)


Have a great summer at Saunders Farm!

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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 two daughters Emma (17) and Sarah (15). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. 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!


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