Urban Cottage Weekend ❧ August 9, 2015

Welcome to the weekend at the cottage! Here are a few things that have been happening around here lately, including some of what’s caught my eye out there on the internet. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in for some reading and browsing,

Walking: A Photo Journal

Walking is my escape, my meditation, my fitness program, and this is prime season for escaping into the beautiful park near my home. Usually I’m listening to a podcast while I march along, but sometimes I like to remove the earbuds and just let my thoughts drift along to the rhythm of my steps. Lately, I’ve taken to bringing a book and stopping at one of my favourite benches overlooking the water to read for a while. Regardless of what I’m listening to, thinking or reading, I like to keep my eyes open to the interesting things around me. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I often use the hashtag #notice; it’s a reminder to be open to the world around you and to really see what’s there to be seen. Here are some images from recent summer walks.

I’ve been doing a series on Instagram called #gnarly — photos of an ancient willow near the water’s edge. Think of all this tree must have witnessed over the decades.

And here are some things that caught my eye as I was walking along the pathways or sitting on a bench overlooking the river.

Around the Web

A Primer For Those Alone

I follow the blog Kitchen Vignettes and the most recent post made me catch my breath. The author, Aubergine, talked about how she had gone through a painful breakup and empowered herself by cooking and enjoying a feast for one for Valentine’s Day.

I can relate. Having gone through my own painful breakup nine months ago, I’m still working on the empowering myself part. On the outside, I’m sure I look strong and confident as I move my life forward, and I am those things, but not all the time. I guard my privacy (making this an uncomfortable topic to write about) and try to bring positivity to social media, but beneath what I present to the world I sometimes still feel dazed and struggle with loneliness. That said, all things considered, I am doing well, in no small part because I decided early on to focus on making gratitude and doing something productive part of every day. It’s been an easier goal to meet on some days than others, but that decision has made a hard journey less rocky than it might otherwise have been.

Aubergine shared a video called “How To Be Alone” (by film maker Andrea Dorfman and poet/singer/songwriter Tanya Davis) in her post. I find it touching, affirming and hope inspiring, and only wish I’d found it months earlier. It captivated me from its starting words:

If you are at first lonely, be patient.

It’s simply lovely, and I felt inspired to share it here in the hopes it will reach someone who needs to see it. I hope you can find five minutes to view it.


In case you missed any of my posts since the last edition of Urban Cottage Weekend, there’s definitely been a summer theme with Lemon Cucumber Infused Water, Strawberry Yogourt Smoothie Pops, and Grilled Corn Salsa. For a treat any time of year, check out this Pomegranate Coconut Meringue Bark. And finally, I started my Urban Cottage Bookshelf column with a review of Nigella Bites, featuring Apple & Blackberry Kuchen. I appreciate all the positive comments about the cookbook review, and will be running the next one soon.



  1. I just love that quote, “If you are at first lonely, be patient.” I think in all things we must always be patient. You can’t give up thinking nothing is going to happen because you never know, something could be waiting for you. Which is exactly what happened to me. Beautiful post and video.

    Kia / House of KTS

  2. So beautiful!

    I love her voice and cadence.

    I love solitude and silence. And eating alone in a restaurant. But then, I still have someone to come home to. Maybe I’m practicing for the days when I won’t have him (he is, after all, 20 years older than I).

    There is something deeply spiritual about being alone. I sometimes wonder whether our fear of loneliness isn’t also a fear of knowing the deepest truths about ourselves and the universe.

    After I got sick, in 1996, I was forced to spend endless hours alone, and I grew to prefer being alone. So I really resonate with the truth of the first lines — be patient, you’ll get used to it.

    I could sit here all day pondering this. But I’ve got so much to do! Thank you for the welcome distraction from the drudgery of book keeping. Wishing you a great day, and I’ll be in touch soon!

    • Glad I could distract you from bookkeeping! I’m so behind and could easily fill a couple of days doing that myself … yet here I am, lol.

      I’ve always valued solitude and my alone time, which I see as something quite different from being lonely. I’ve been alone and not lonely; with someone and lonely (possibly the worst combo); and sometimes alone and lonely. Life brings us many combinations. I suppose my favourite is with someone and not lonely, but with access to the alone time I need.

      I think the patience helps us ride through the lonely times, to listen to them and see what they have to teach us

      I love to read and write and sew and do all manner of solitary pursuits. But I do like that time to be interspersed with social time. I have a lot of that, just not always when I need it. So sometimes I take myself off to a restaurant (with a good book) or a movie, or maybe browse the stacks at the library. Better yet, I can go on a cuddle call to visit my granddaughters. I think I’m lucky to have so many options and interests available to me, and good friends like you to hash this over with!

      When I first found myself suddenly single many years ago, I had to cultivate the skill of going out on my own to restaurants and movies, etc. and it has stood me in good stead. I think we all should do the same. As you say, we never know when we’ll find ourselves on our own, through one circumstance or another.

  3. What a wonderful video, thank for sharing it Marlene. Such empowerment in Aubergine’s words and I love the poetic flow of her soulful, practical, fun and serious message. I was lonely during much of my previous 22 year marriage, both literally due to his shift work and my family being thousands of miles away, and also due to his emotional detachment, which was far worse. But of course back then I had my three kids at home. .
    So lovely to see your beautiful photos and to read of ways that you are rebuilding your life. Hugs to you 🙂

    • I’m glad to have been able to introduce you to this video, Sherri. I think there are so many of us who have been lonely hearts in one way or another at some time in our lives. It helps to know there are others who have come through such times. Thank you for your lovely encouragement and support.

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