Birds Behaving Badly

Early Sunday morning I went for an walk with a colleague. We met up in Fort Langley, a small town nestled in the Fraser Valley. The trail we chose is frequented by dog walkers and runners, and rightly so as this trail meanders by a river, goes through a regional forest, and past quaint homes.

As we passed by some shrubs, I noticed the presence of songbirds, and pointed out a robin, remarking, “Look how chubby and cute he is!”

My friend replied, “Robins are NOT cute. Case in point the male Robin that has stalked the front of my home.”

“He has been rat-a-tat-tating against the windows by my front door, while perching on the planters and pooping up a storm. My husband solved this issue by putting plywood up against those windows. Bird can no longer see his reflection so we thought he would move on. Nope. He just relocated to the back of the house – this time attacking the kitchen window. Our BBQ is located under said window. Bob had just taken off the cover from the BBQ. Now we have bird poop streaming down the side of it. I instructed my husband to keep the cover on, and put some small objects along the wee window ledge. Meanwhile the bird moved away from the house, but he is now hanging out around our carport. He has taken to sitting on the side view mirrors of my car. And of course pooping. Robins are not cute. I think we are going to try purchasing one of those fake owls.”

I responded, “I think that is worth the effort, especially when birds are behaving badly.”


Food and Friends

At 6 pm, while I was shutting down my work computer, ready to head home, my cell phone unexpectedly rings. A friend calls explaining that she just needed to talk to someone as she had a trying day. As she shares I hear her voice became less shaky. However. through all the words I could hear the words she was not uttering:

This is hard and never ending.

I am weary.

I am scared.

In a moment of inspiration and grace, I asked her “What are you doing for dinner? I am hungry! I want to treat you. Consider it an early birthday present.”

We ran through possibilities of where to eat – ruling out restaurants that are closed Monday evenings.

In a spark of inspiration, I asked her “How about Ahn and Chi?”

She resoundingly said, “Yes.”

We meet up at the restaurant and are fortunately swiftly seated in the patio. There are always line ups at this restaurant because it received a Michelin Bib Gourmand designation – an award well deserved.

The food is scrumptious – light, flavorful, a symphony of flavors dancing along our palate.

View from patio towards Main Street.
Pork and Enoki Mushroom Spring Rolls
Char-Grilled Beef Short Ribs.
Steamed Rice Sheets

We left sated: physically full on nourishing food and our soul plumped up by companionship and a long lived friendship.

Sharing the Love

If you have visited my blog this month, you know that I am a huge fan of the Six Word Memoir – distilling a story into a mere six words.

Those six words claim you as an author. A concept done and dusted, an achievement of sorts. The Six Word Memoir is a stalwart friend – solid and dependable – a reliable gateway to the world of writing.

Anticipating the upcoming Student Slice of Life writing challenge, I introduced my students to my dear companion by pulling up my Wordsmithing blog and showing them my sweet little stories. I explained those days I was struggling to create a Slice, I could string together six words. You can too!

I proceeded to provide them with a definition of memoir, had them turn and talk and share their interests and future aspirations. Sent them to their desk to brainstorm a list of their ideas and mine them to craft several six word memoirs.

As students brought up their Writer’s Notebook to me, I asked permission to share their memoirs with the entire class. Each student had their own distinct voice. I could sense the excitement building in my room – EVERYONE a writer.

At end of class I had students sit in a circle and share out either a memoir or a concept they are working on.

A few memoirs stood out to me.

I am a mini Albert Einstein.

I run fast just like Messi.

Not bad for third graders!

At the end of the day at dismissal, a student approached me and said, “ Ms Clark. I have another Six Word Memoir: I love writing Six Word Memoirs.”

My heart melted just a little bit.

I am creating writers, word by word.

Before That Format

Hit publish on a Sunday evening Slice. Phew, in under the wire. Thank goodness for my stalwart standby – six word memoirs.

Before that – rose deeply sated from a Sunday afternoon to evening nap, lengthy and prolonged, a luxury rooted in self care.

Before that – imbibed in afternoon tea from the comfort of my kitchen – chocolate cherry croissant and steamy milk laden tea

Before that – popped into Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up two dozen eggs, on sale via special offer via PC Optimum App. Eggs nestled in the back of my fridge to be used for baking – my turn for staff goody day in a couple of weeks.

Before that – a long drive home on the highway from the valley

Before that – treated myself to lunch in a small town bakery – toasted Turkey sandwich with salad along with house made raspberry lemonade.

Before that – joined a friend & colleague for a 10.5 km walk through a forested trail, laden with dripping moss.

Before that – zoomed along the highway Eastbound, 50 km to a quaint town nestled in the Fraser Valley.

Before that – had a steamy hot shower – hello morning! – getting the last vestiges of sleep out of my eye.

Before that – woke up prior to the alarm, fed kitties, scooped litter box

Before that – stayed up far too late into the wee hours of the morning – classic back-to-work insomnia. (at least I had a fun book to read – will suggest it to my Chick Lit book club, NOT to my public library book club where it surely would be met with a whiff of disdain.)

I Dropped a Ball or Two

“To drop the ball means to make an error, usually involving a missed opportunity through carelessness or insufficient attention. When someone drops the ball, it often involves letting others down. The expression drop the ball came into use in the 1940s-1950s, and is related to a sport that involves the carrying of a ball.”

I dropped a ball or two.

Ever since my concussion, I have been in the habit of dropping balls. These balls are silent, quietly absorbing the impact of the Earth when they are dropped, rolling out of my field of vision. I only notice them when I walk around a corner and spot them huddled in a crevice.

As soon as I see a ball, I go, “Oh, oh, What did I forget?”

Emails I thought I responded to are stuck in the detritus of my inbox.

Text messages I thought I replied to, become apparent when a friend texts me again.

Both instances I apologize.

You know what else has dropped out of my field of vision?

Comments posted to my Slices.

I apologize profusely if I haven’t liked or responded to your comments in a timely manner.

What did I find this evening when logging into WordPress from my desktop computer? Pending comments from 17 days ago! Comments in the spam folder! (I didn’t even know there was a spam folder.)

I truly appreciate your comments! They are the golden nuggets mined from our collective experience. They are insightful, validating, and helpful. Your input makes me a better writer. Thank you!

So it is apparent I have dropped more than a ball or two.

If you are able to help catch and hold the others for me, I’d appreciate it.

It is NOT Vanilla Ice Cream

Andrea’s Slice yesterday about a version of Vanilla ice cream prompted this memory.

Ice cream, unless you have a lactose intolerance, is universally loved. You may have flavours you prefer, but ice cream is ice cream – yummy!

Well dear reader, I discovered an ice cream that was NOT yummy.

How could this occur, you may ask.

Take a chef, hosting a Pacific Northwest themed dinner, who took it far too literarily.

Appetizers and main course – delightful!

Dessert plated on cedar plank, matches theme – cute.

I nibble on the cake – palatable but frankly not that great. I take a spoonful of ice cream and pop it into my mouth. Initial impressions – smooth and creamy.

But then wait –

What is that horrid taste? I turn to my friend, looking at her aghast. Her face is slightly green. She pipes up, “What the heck did they do to ruin a perfectly good ice cream?”

Cedar – they added cedar flavouring!

A mealy, woody flavour lingered in our mouths.

It was definitely NOT vanilla ice cream.

Baking Ba-Humbug

Have you ever excitedly baked something and it didn’t turn out exactly the way you hoped?

Well, dear reader, I have coined this a Baking Ba-Humbug

Cue the set, yesterday evening:

Cut, core, slice pears

Cut, core, slice apples. Pare off bruised bits.

Toss with spices – nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom

Add in sugar

A squeeze of lemon

Let sit while forming crumble.

Notice fruit bowl now contains a LOT of liquid.

Toss in a dollop of flour. Stir.

Grease baking dish.

Still lots of liquid in fruit bowl. Toss in a couple of handfuls of oatmeal.

Place fruit in baking dish, top with crumble.


Let cool slightly.

Scoop serving into a bowl.

Notice , that the fruit portion is a little bit dry.

Ba Humbug I shouldn’t have added that large dollop of flour and extra oatmeal.

At least the crumble, would still be good for breakfast

– as long as it accompanied by Vanilla yogurt.