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Having returned refreshed from my holiday hiatus, I am ready to atone for the blogger's sin of disappearing off the face of the earth for over eight days... With a brand new year comes some freshly published clips to share. Last winter, when January was white, snowy...

christmas rain-glows

Yesterday, we had six foot snowbanks. Today, it's pouring rain. On my first weekend of the two-week Christmas break I'm watching those grand piles of white stuff dwindle down to nothing while baking gluten-free shortbread and listening to Nat King Cole sing seasonal...

gifts for travellers

What to get for the nomad who has nothing? Here are a few items that he or she can easily slip in their backpack for a better life on the road. Klean Kanteen: Hearing all the bad news about plastics lately? These stainless steel water bottles should be on everybody's...

guide book glitches

Travelling on my own in Argentina a few years back, I read about the ruins of San Jose de Lules, a Jesuit mission outside of the small city of Tucuman. There wasn't much to do in Tucuman. I barely spoke Spanish and I'd already seen the sights of the town, so of course...

the fiction of place

Lately, I've been settling into another kind of place: made-up landscapes pieced together in my head and put on the page. I just finished a short story that unravels around and in an abandoned house perched beside a big lake. I grew up on the north shore of Lake...

Niagara Falls New and Old

The Festival of Lights is on right now in Niagara Falls and that's where J. and I spent the weekend. The town sure has changed since we were kids. Back then, the two grand waterfalls and the amusement park atmosphere of Clifton Hill were the main draws. These days,...

sunbathing and sea burial in miami

A couple of odd bits of news from Miami, Florida popped into my in-box today, sent by TravelMole. Together, they summoned an image of that strange ocean-side world, so different from the wintry view out my window. How fun! The first is a newly offered guarantee from...

going green with a real tree

When I was a kid growing up in Northern Ontario, getting a Christmas tree often involved bumping down some icy back road, breaking trail into the forest and cutting one down. That might make some environmentalists cringe, but not as much as plastic. The verdict has...

fire and ice

Last year, my family went for a walk on Christmas Day. The grass was green. The sky was blue. Halfway down the road to the park, I took off my jacket. With predictions for the coldest winter in fifteen years, it's pretty clear we won't be doing that this year. "A good...

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