Welcome to Life, Inspired — The Weekend Review. This is the weekly column where I take a step back from the recipes so you can have a wider look at what’s been inspiring me, moving me, or just catching my fancy out there in the life beyond my kitchen.
What can I say? To be honest, I’m glad to see the departure of January. Last month brought an incredible array of highs and stress. It was filled with the worry, joy and exhaustion that any mother whose own children have difficult birth experiences knows.
While my third granddaughter, Miss Baby M, arrived more or less on time, on January 5, some issues meant that I stayed at my daughter’s home for a week to help out with the other girls and the household. I returned home to a major editing deadline for a new client and a hellacious cold. Just when that was behind me and I thought I could both relax and tackle my languishing to-do list, my fourth granddaughter was born, almost four weeks early, on January 19 after 24 hours and much medical drama. What makes for good TV makes for a harrowing life experience.
Baby H spent 10 days in the neonatal intensive care unit and my mission was to support her parents, in particular my daughter who stayed at the hospital almost 24 hours a day. I ran errands, delivered meals and provided as much emotional support as I could. Last Wednesday was a happy day, with Baby’s arrival home.
As these things go, immediately after this happy resolution I had to deal with another looming writing deadline, which I met in the wee hours of last night, just in the proverbial nick of time.
I’m pleased to report that both babies are thriving and my daughters are doing well, too. My reward for all this is drop-by cuddle calls and the sweet experience of witnessing the early days of new lives. I’m profoundly grateful for the joy and happy outcomes that January brought, and am fortunate to be at a place in my life where I’m free to spend time supporting my family, whether in the crisis moments or just the little things that make day-to-day life easier.
All that said, I’m happy to welcome February, with its promise of being “just” a normal month, perhaps with the opportunity to catch up on my sleep, let alone that to-do list.
While I haven’t gotten out for any walks lately that I would consider exercise, and I’m not sure I remember the way to the gym, I did spend some time strolling about Wortley Village in the last couple of days, taking photos for the destination piece I just published (see the Weekly Recap, below). The village is a funky blend of both vintage and new-age sensibilities, and is truly a pedestrian-friendly community. It’s possible to live here and meet all your needs without having a car (not that I plan to do that). I’ll continue to showcase the village in this space over time. Today’s photo is of the Village Harvest Bakery.
Spreading the Blogging Love
On January 21 I had the pleasure of delivering a presentation about food blogging to students members of the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals at Brescia University College here in London. It was an invigorating experience to talk about something I love doing with a group of engaged participants. There were 25 people present, and we had a good question and answer session following the presentation. Some of them have been in touch to say that I inspired them in respect to their own blogs, which is very satisfying to hear!
You could call my first post this past week a January cliche, or you could just call it delicious and accept that it also happens to be highly nutritious. I call it a curried chickpea bowl with spiced cashew sour cream. I also published something new for me, a destination post exploring Wortley Village and some of its food scene. Who says you have to go far to do travel writing? Not that I wouldn’t mind. This piece is my submission to a contest called “Blog Your Way to Kelowna in 2015!”. The prize is travel, accommodation and fees for the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers’ Workshop in September. I’ll know March 1 if my article has made the long list.
Congratulations on your achievement . very interesting to follow you and the best to you . deserving it.
As always, thanks so much Suzanne! Your comments are always a treat for me to read. Hugs!
You definitely had an exciting month – I think the babies are the best part though! 😉
They definitely are, Meg!
I can’t remember the last bad week I had, but we just had to put our oldest dog to sleep, and my new and only grandaughter, 4 months old is having cataract surgery tomorrow. I never knew babies got cataracts. So I now know what it’s like to go through this kind of thing as a grand mother. Glad your babies are doing well.
Mimi, I’m not sure how your comment escaped my attention until now. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog, I know how hard that can be. And your granddaughter having cataract surgery! I hope it all went very well. Like you, I had no idea babies could get cataracts.
I have found that when the little ones are sick, as a grandparent I worry not only for them, but also for what their parents are going through. More layers of love also bring more layers of concern. I do hope all is well now. Hugs.
Oh thanks Marlene. I think it is worse because you know how much it hurts! My grand daughter is doing great. She wears a contact with a lens, and when she’s about 2, they’ll surgically insert a lens. Thank goodness for fabulous technology!
So glad to hear all is well with your little miss. It’s amazing what they can do, and I agree, thank goodness!
Phew, what a month you had Marlene! I can relate, as you know, so far as the stress goes. So glad that babies are doing well and mums and you too 🙂 All the very best with your submission (again, can relate!), will take a look at your post as I think I missed it. Let’s hope that February brings a fresh and a great start for us both 🙂
Thanks for your good wishes, Sherri. I wholeheartedly agree with your hopes for February! Let’s stay in touch and share how the month is going! (It’s very late here, and that’s when my exclamation marks start getting out of control, lol.)
Haha…I’m terrible with exclamation marks, trying to rein them in 🙂 Yes, we’ll stay in touch. So far so good…getting on with my writing again in my Summerhouse, laptop issues sorted just about, feeling more on top of things. Hope with you too…and hope you are having a lovely weekend 🙂
Ah yes, exclamation marks. At the Food Bloggers of Canada conference in 2013 David Leite spoke to us about blogging and one of the things he addressed was overuse of exclamation marks, and recommended no more than two per post. I’m embarrassed to say if you look at my early posts they are simply littered with exclamation marks. I started limiting myself to two, and gradually almost stopped using them altogether. I save them now for when I really, really mean it. (!) Interestingly, I find that in my Life, Inspired weekend column I use a lot more than in regular blog posts. I think that’s because it’s a chattier type of post, that’s written more in my conversation voice, and I am one of those people who wave their hands dramatically and play with inflection when I’m talking. That’s why I can’t hold a wine glass and talk at the same time. 😊
Glad you’ve got your technical issues sorted, and are able to write again in your summerhouse. What a lovely retreat it must be! (haha, there’s another one)
Haha…Marlene, you and I both! I can see us now, gesticulating all over the place with our hands, wine spilling everywhere if we were ever to have a conversation together! (See what I mean!!) Oops…! So true though when using a ‘chatty’ voice in a blog post, it is the way you would talk naturally but like you, I’ve made a strong effort not to use them, or rarely in other blog posts…hard though…
Thanks for that, yes, getting there…and yes, I do love my little retreat, gets me away from all the distractions, not to mention my two cats who seem to think that whenever I’m around they are going to get fed 😮 Hope you’ve had a good week and a lovely weekend to come. See you soon! (Couldn’t resist… 😀 )
I’d love to do that presentation thing! Sounds like a right laugh. Mind you I’m not a terribly professional blogger. My language can get a bit risque but I can’t help it.
Haha, I know lots of bloggers who have a salty approach to language. I have a potty mouth at times but it generally doesn’t appear on the blog. 😊
Congratulations on the new grandchildren Marlene and good luck in the contest.
Thank you, Susan!