Where do I start? How about in Toronto, in the ravine. It's a lovely October morning, and I'm walking with my friend Victoria and her dog Zoe. Let's be clear, we are fast walking. Victoria is a beautiful force - her legs are long and her...

Where do you hang your tea towels? On the oven door? Stuffed into a drawer handle? On a bar in the cupboard under the sink, away from sight, where my mother-in-law used to keep her tea towels, three kitchens ago? Her husband would pull it out to dry...

This is the time of year for goals. A new calendar. A juicing regime. A fresh start. This year, with a nudge from my friend Misty, I'm choosing just one word to spark goals for 2018. It's not a particularly sexy word, but it works for me. The word is discipline. Yawn,...

I'm dreaming of a stress-free Christmas. My sister’s parents in law, Mila and Dave, joined us for Christmas dinner this year. For years Mila hosted 25 around her Christmas table. This year, they arrived as guests.  After dinner I flopped down next to Mila in the living...

  How to make a rented condo with yellow walls and plasticized rules stuck to the wall your own at Christmas time.  I'm here in Quebec with our kids' ski team. We're staying with cousin Les and Pete and their daughter Belle in a brown condo, alongside...

I have two quotes to share with you: one from my cousin Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal. The other is from Chef Jacques Pépin, the French turned American octogenarian culinary legend. I know, what disparate sources. Claire's comes from a piece in the Globe & Mail. She was asked,...

I’m writing in a happy, foggy trance. Sarah McLachlan is covering Song for a Winter’s Night, Gordon Lightfoot’s gorgeous lullaby that I play this time of year, always.  I play certain songs, again and again, because I crave the FEELING I get when listening. This particular...

It’s hard not to feel the overwhelm this time of year. This is when all the nostalgia and expectations and tick-off lists and work culminate in one joyous, stressful tangle. If only I could remember that quietly sitting and untangling the tangle is always the best way to...

Soft, white bread. That'll fix it.  I used to live near a bread factory. It produced hot dog and hamburger buns and sliced white bread that lasts for weeks on the shelf. Every morning an aroma from the factory floated through the neighbourhood and into our windows. It was a sweet smell,...

She looked just like Bobby.  Bobby is a character on the soap opera General Hospital. I wasn't a devoted fan, but one summer I did have to record every episode on VHS for my best friend Amy while she was away at summer camp.  Amy binged...

Spend time with the books.  That’s what the owner of Books for Cooks said to me when I began working at the shop. There were 10,000 titles on the shelves; it was daunting. But she'd just smile and say, spend time with them. Touch their spines and pull them...

I had just turned fourteen when my little sister got us kicked out of a movie theatre for excessive crying.  Ms. Valens was hanging her laundry on the line when she heard the news. Her son, Ritchie, was killed in a plane crash, along with fellow performers...

  Do you plan your own birthday parties? My youngest son Rex has been planning his own party ever since he could articulate his vision. Last year the vision was a projected movie on the living room wall, complete with a popcorn concession stand and monopoly money...

The highs and lows of the creative process are exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. There's the rush of a job, an idea, or a vision in the night. Then there's the crash of knowing serious work is ahead. The serious work comes next, followed by...

Have you ever read the book Five Minutes' Peace? The one with the mama elephant who tries to escape her busy household by sneaking off with the newspaper to have a bubble bath? Just as she sinks beneath the bubbles, there are the little elephants, standing...