musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

a wee tree update...

The Easter Bunny stopped by our house a bit early this year and dropped off a special treat... for the Christmas tree. So, as promised, here's our wee Grinchy tree, sporting a cheerful new outfit for spring. [If you missed the fashion show, follow this link to see wee tree's post-Christmas costume changes.]

Our little tree is incredibly patient and continues to thrive, but his humans are running out of decorating ideas. (Suggestions welcome. All I've got is a vague idea about a giant strawberry for June!) On the other hand, maybe it's time for a new pot with some fresh soil and a shot of fertilizer. Wee tree would likely appreciate a few months of rest and relaxation before Christmas rolls around again. 

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

birds of spring...

I went walking at one of Toronto's finest waterfront parks this afternoon. Colonel Sam Smith Park in Etobicoke is a favourite with bird watchers and for the past few years I've enjoyed trying to spot new (to me) birds whenever I visit. Luck was with me today! I found a large group of long-tailed ducks in a sheltered bay. Most of them were too far away for a decent photo but this guy came close enough for a quick snap. Isn't he lovely? One for my life list.

Long-tailed Duck

A bit farther west, out in the yacht basin, the red-necked grebes were squabbling, pairing off, and joyfully singing the love songs of their people. 

Red-necked Grebes

Red-necked Grebes

The marsh area was comparatively quiet except for the trill of red-winged blackbirds and the quacks and dabbling of mallard ducks.

Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck

This gorgeous young robin didn't seem to mind at all when I stopped to watch him hunt. He even obliged by posing prettily for me on a rock.

American Robin

Over all, a very fine walk indeed! I don't know about you, but I am very glad it's spring.

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stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

a wee Irish tree...

St. Patrick's Day arrives this Friday and I will definitely be wearin' the green. I can trace my Irish roots all the way back to the 17th century when my maternal grandmother's Dickenson forebears, Daniel and Elizabeth, settled in Edenderry to raise their family. This year, instead of green beer (yuck!) or a tipple of Irish whiskey (Writer's Tears?), I'll be celebrating with something new and different – a wee, green St. Patrick's Day tree.

It's okay. I know you want to say it, so go ahead.

"What the heck is a St. Patrick's Day Tree?"

Well, here's the thing. Last Christmas, son J and I decided to decorate with a live tree instead of our old reliable artificial spruce. We simply couldn't resist this sweet little Grinch's Christmas tree. Isn't it adorable?

I figured it would be a cute conversation starter, take up just the right amount of space in my small living room, and then fade away into the compost bin after the holidays. But, no. Instead of fading away, little tree seemed to flourish.

If you know me, or if you've read my 2015 post about flower power, you'll understand how difficult it is for me to give up on a plant, no matter how sad or how sorry it may look. But once the Christmas season ended it seemed silly – and just a bit embarrassing – to display a Grinchy tree with a shiny red ball. So, off with the shiny red ball and on with a classic white bow tie, perfect for celebrating the New Year.

Little tree continued to thrive. And so when February rolled around, we traded in the formal bow for a jaunty red ribbon with Valentine heart dangles.

Fast forward to March, and our little tree grows fluffier day by day. Last week we dressed him up in a pale green bow with sparkly shamrock bangles. I think it suits the little guy, don't you?

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way

Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

We're already planning a special Easter outfit (photos to follow) but for now, we're enjoying this little bit of Ireland on our table.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

goodbye little friend...

January 24, 2001 - February 2, 2017

My sweet Sam passed quietly away this afternoon. He was the best and finest cat I've ever known and I will miss him terribly. The last few weeks were a great struggle for Sam - after sixteen years his mighty heart had begun to let him down - so I'm comforted to know he is finally at peace. I'll always be grateful for our time together, for all the smiles and laughter, for all he taught me about love and life, and for the chance to share his stories here on the blog. 

Goodbye, little friend. You were a Very Good Boy indeed.

More about Sam...

Sam enjoying his balcony, summer 2009

Watercolour portrait of Sam by Jocelyn, Ontario, Canada

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

where's the sun?

As I publish this post, my countdown to spring stands at 53 days. That's nearly 1,272 more hours of shivers and gloom. I need me some sunshine! But since a trip to the tropics isn't in the cards this year, I did the (almost) next best thing and visited the Centennial Park Conservatory where just about everything is blooming and cheerful.

Gorgeous Amaryllis


Aloe Vera


Just a small part of the massive display of Cyclamen - beautiful!

These guys wanted sunbeams, too, but no luck. 

I felt much better after communing with the flowers for a while, even though the sun never did make an appearance. We're in for a long stretch of sunless days here in Toronto and I can feel myself growing more quiet and withdrawn by the hour. I may have to retrieve my SAD therapy lamp from the back of the closet and bask in some artificial rays. 

How do you beat the mid-winter blues?

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stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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