Cat Lady Chic


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You can spot them on the buses and in grocery store lineups. Cat ladies. Pet people.


Fur, fur everywhere! How do you perform a quick removal from your black dress slacks? How do you maintain that professional or date-able appearance?

Black cat at computer beside cat lady chic book

Cat Lady Chic

How can you be proactive in adapting to a home life with pets? Read on here.

What do you think? Please post your suggestions and sage advice in the comments section below.

Thanks for dropping by and watching where you sit…



Pampered Cats and Other Household Gods


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This is what I have been doing in the lulls between gathering ideas for that children’s book, serving the resident felines and slogging through the adult working world.

When ideas dry up and the winter blues contribute to a crippling stagnation, I turn to the creatures who make me happy and give me a sense of domesticated purrpose.

cats napping in window shelf

Cats lying in a cramped window shelf

You can learn more at this page. It may soon be complementary to the Growing up Catholic series.

Thanks for dropping by.


A romantic interlude


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Sometimes romance takes time…

Excerpt from The Year of the Rabbit:

“So… how is the wine?” she insisted.  

He extended his right hand to her. She accepted.  He pulled her closer and enveloped her with his arms, one around her shoulders and the other around the small of her back.  She put her arms under his and around his back. 

Gio buried his face in her hair, breathed in then let out a big sigh, “It was worth the wait.”

Despite her womanly experience, she trembled.  He pulled her closer, her hip pressed against his thigh.  

Read a bit more here.

Happy Valentines Day.


Mystery, Romance and Bliss


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Yeah, Valentine’s Day is approaching.

Aside from my weakness for dark chocolate, I will be burrowing into books and shielding myself from the onslaught of jewelry, romantic getaways and chocolate advertisements. Humbug!

This cat lady divorcée is not entirely jaded. I enjoy the glow from my three hours of bliss while volunteering in my community book shop. I get to browse the shelves for new gems, chat up the regular patrons, meet new people, and on a rare occasion shake hands with a local celebrity. Blush, gush!

You may be interested in a cute event hosted by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association to raise funds. It’s called “Blind Date with a Book”. You pay $3 for a pseudo-wrapped parcel of books not knowing what is inside.

poster blind date with a book FOPLA

Blind Date with a Book – Valentine’s

Aside from this being a clever fund raising idea, some people think that picking out a book is a personal activity and choice.

book shop haiku

I lean to agree. How about you?

Thanks for dropping by. Please leave that sealed box of chocolates at the counter on your way out. ❤


Rising to another Lunar New Year


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I seek light in the darkness.

World events and backwards politics south of the border brought disturbances in a gloomy January.

It was a pleasure and relief on Friday evening to celebrate the Lunar New Year, to look forward to new developments, friendships and opportunities.

I like joining in small gatherings with family and friends to eat good food and share in good spirits. I like the of ambience colourful lights but do not appreciate the auditory assault from firecrackers or fireworks.

I appreciate joyful noise.

I cherish silence.

Year of the Rooster illustration

Year of the Rooster illustration by G. Jobateh

Wishing you a happy new year of harmony and opportunities.

Thanks for dropping by.

Parts of text on this blog post appeared on the Novel’s blog last weekend.


The bookshop withdrawals


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It has only been a couple of weeks but I really miss my bookshop shifts.

The Christmas and New Years holiday hours have messed with my routine, my near-weekly fix. I miss greeting the families with young children who visit the shop in-between weekend errands.

Books about book shops or book stores

Books about bookshops and bookstores

I miss chatting up the regular patrons. I miss tidying the shelves and discovering one or two gems to purchase for my own reading enjoyment.

book shop haiku

Spending time with family and friends between the paying day job shifts was a nice consolation for the past two eons but I look forward to experiencing my three hours of bliss once again.

Now that the new year has arrived, I can fixate on one personal goal, to nurture my inner child and embrace my love of drawing once again. I would like to explore possibilities, benefit from new technology tools, and expand my skills at writing a children’s book. It will likely contain cats…

pen and ink drawing of a cute kitten

Blissful Kitten pen and ink circa. 1982

Wish me luck. In the meantime, I invite you to read that novel I published in 2011.

Thanks for dropping by and… Happy New Year!



Muskoka as a travel destination


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During my book shop shifts, I enjoy the chats with regular clients.

They are inquisitive, well-read folks. Some say nothing for long stretches then surprise you with interesting questions or observations.

book shop display

At your local book shops, there’s always something different each week

One appears to be a grumpy old man but I think he brightens up when I acknowledge his arrival. He always says he’s in a hurry to get to his next appointment but often has time for chit chat or cranky observations.

Most of the clients leave the store with bagfuls or armloads of purchases – or items from the free bin.

At times we receive herds of children with their families. I love it when they visit the shop, explore the children’s section for new treasures – or ask random questions.

One of the regular gentlemen customers likes to explore new places so often occupies the travel section during his visits. During one shift, I noticed traveling man standing in the middle of the shop with a blank look on his face.  He declared, “I … am wondering where to travel next…”

“Muskoka!” I replied matter-of-factly.

“That’s right,” replied Grumpy Man, “Didn’t you recently travel there?”

“Yeah,” I responded, “After Thanksgiving for the Cranberry Festival then again two weeks later for a funeral.”

“Oh… Sorry to hear that. So what is Muskoka like?”, inquired Traveling Man.

view from airplane georgian bay

Georgian Bay air tour 2015

“Lots of trees, lakes, rivers and Georgian Bay if you travel far enough west. It can make for a nice, long drive through Algonquin Park.”

View of forest, Georgian Bay and CPR rail bridge in Parry Sound

View of forest, Georgian Bay and CPR rail bridge in Parry Sound

“Huh… thanks!”, he responded then turned to explore more shelves.

Muskoka is indeed a nice place to visit in the winter for ice fishing and carnivals, and of course, in the summer – along with all the rich people from Toronto and the U.S.  I failed to mention the black flies in the spring time though. Follow this site for tourism information.

If you’re looking to explore Muskoka through my memories, imagination and camera lens, follow this blog entry where I demonstrate you CAN go home again. Follow this one where I challenged my fear of flying – with help from my son and my little anxiety friend. Why not read a few excerpts from my novel? Heck, why not buy an ebook copy?

You can also learn about Muskokaisms, as recalled and recorded by my ten siblings and me.

Thanks for dropping by. May your world travels be enjoyable, educational and safe.


Not in the mood


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It’s Halloween and I am not in the partying mood.

When you’ve recently experienced a death in the family, this day provides a poignant reminder of our eventual departure from this earthly existence.

Instead of spending the day with costume alterations or decorating your front door, you check your packing list and search your closet for appropriate attire. You don’t want to venture out into public and risk being bombarded by imagery and retail distortions of this celebration for the dead.

Instead of a jack-o-lantern, you will light a candle of remembrance and respect.

votive candle in wine bottle lantern

This week will be the first time I would have stepped into a Catholic church in quite a few years. There are mixed blessings of being the youngest in a large, poor family in that you were not close to the recently departed. You dig for the words to describe memorable moments, characteristics of a family member you barely knew.

You prepare yourself for a long journey, to attend the services where you will offer consolation and comfort to others.

You prepare yourself for the moment that will open the floodgates of tears.

Thanks for visiting and reading this entry.

Do drop by the novel’s blog to read an excerpt. It’s the one where Sera thinks about life after death and her Mother’s impending fate. I wrote it based on my naive impressions after my own Mother passed away many years ago.



How do you like them apples?


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Thanksgiving has come and gone in our little corner of Canada.

We were grateful for small blessings while opening our hearts and wallets to those less fortunate.

I was pleased by the recent news report about Apple orchards in eastern Ontario experiencing ‘weird, wonderful flavours’ after drought. This Thanksgiving, we did indeed enjoy some sweet apple cider. The resident artiste has made it a tradition for our weekend of feasting and giving thanks.

The novel’s blog served up an excerpt about thanksgiving and non-traditional meals shared at a Chinese Canadian restaurant that became a third place for the Fletcher family plus provided Sera with her own special space.

In The Year of the Rabbit, the apple appears many times – mostly as a symbol of innocence and discovery.  It leads Sera through thoughts of life after death then the accidental revelation of her true paternal origin.  There is another scene where its innocent influences cannot prevent Sera from acting on uncontrollable rage.

Read some excerpts here or download 20% of the novel for free from Smashwords. Not convinced yet? See what other readers have said about the novel.

Thanks for dropping by.


Smoke ’em if you got ’em


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That’s apparently a phrase that originated from World War II.

At the time, cigarettes were rationed to soldiers, so they became a luxury and a valuable form of currency for those who did not smoke.

Over at the Deep Blonde Thoughts blog, you can enjoy a post titled Lighting up vs puckering up. The words singe with personal opinions and smolder with sage advice on having kissable lips.

In The Year of the Rabbit, readers will discover that smoking is frowned upon – especially when one of the Fletcher girls is caught at it. Murder could be frowned upon too…

– Snippet from the novel –

Sera heard a loud crack – then a chilling silence.  

She saw movement to her right – someone coming up from the direction of the train tracks.  It was Gwen, wearing her weekend jeans, jean jacket and her copper hair flowing around her.  She was smoking a cigarette. Quickly, she ran over to her sister’s side.

“Hey! Sera,” she panted, “What happened? I heard yelling.  Are you alright?”

Sera nodded and brushed pine needles off of her sweatshirt. She was in shock as well as surprised to see her sister smoking.  Her eyes widened at the sight.

Gwen noticed her sister’s discovery.  “Oh, yeah…” then bent with intention to put it out on the forest floor.  

“No!” said Sera, “That’s not safe.”

“Then where else am I supposed to put it?”

Sera gestured to the beer bottle beside the paint can.

When Gwen returned to her sister, she helped her up and brushed the pine needles off of her back.  Sera stood still, staring at where Daryl MacDonald lay.  He wasn’t moving.  His head and neck were bent back in an awkward position against the stump.

“Gwen… I think he’s dead.”

Together, they walked slowly in the direction of the body.  Sera looked down at him then at her bloody right hand.

“Oh my God.  I killed him.”

– End snippet –

Read more excerpts here or download 20% of the novel for free from Smashwords. Not convinced yet? See what other readers have said about the novel.

Thanks for dropping by.

Move along now. Nothing to see here.