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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

My husband and I have been married for kind of a long time.

It doesn’t feel that long to us, but I guess 36 years seems like a lot to a lot of people. It’s longer than any of our friends have been married, so I guess we’re no longer beginners.

Once you hit a certain number of years together, people start asking what your secret is. I was shocked the first time it happened. I mean, marital longevity is what our parents had. We’re just getting warmed up here! But the question keeps being asked, so here goes.

Outside of sheer, dumb luck (and the importance of this must not be underestimated in the pursuit of a happy marriage, even though I never see it mentioned in any “How to Make Your Marriage Great” articles), the next thing you need is the frequent deployment of three little words. …


So maybe let’s revel in the joy of being one among many.

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Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

I don’t get out much these days. Between Covid and Inflammatory Arthritis and getting sick from the drugs that are supposed to make the arthritis better but didn’t, I have been more or less housebound this year.

For a little while this Spring, it seemed like the rest of the world was catching up with me. We were all in lockdown, hoping to stop Covid in its tracks.

But then something happened, and more and more people became less and less interested in following the rules. We know what we need to do. We just aren’t willing to do it.

It’s the same story with the Climate Emergency. …


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Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

According to Project Drawdown, one of the most useful things we can do to slow down and even start to reverse climate change is to adopt a vegan diet. It’s such an easy change to make and can start with our next meal.

Not only will we cut back on methane emissions from cows, who, if they were their own nation, would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, but we’ll also be able to slow down and even stop deforestation. It’s happening at an alarming pace as more and more land gets turned over to pasturing beef and growing animal feed. As an even better bonus, if enough of us move to a plant-based diet, existing pastureland that won’t be used for animal feed can be reforested, helping to draw down CO2 that’s already in the air. …


Hearty, welcoming, generous recipes.

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photo by Barb McMahon

I realize not everyone reads a cookbook cover to cover like a novel, but when I find a good one, that’s precisely what I do.

I first found Our Syria by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi through an online library. I liked it so much, I bought it from my local bookstore.

Sometimes cooking the recipes of another culture can be intimidating. There are often unfamiliar ingredients. If you can’t track them down, you don’t always know what you can substitute successfully or leave out.

The recipes in Our Syria are so simple, the ingredients common enough even in my smallish Canadian town, that I’ve felt quite confident giving them a go. …


Love in a pandemic is hard.

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Photo by Oxana Lyashenko on Unsplash

Darling,

We met through a video chat. That’s not the way I usually like to meet new people, but you were born in a pandemic, and we need to keep you safe. If your smile lost anything in the translation, then it’s a dazzler, indeed.

If these were normal times, your great-uncle and I would have swooped upon your home, bearing gifts and a bottle of something bubbly. After first making sure that your parents had weathered the birth without dismay, I’d have scooped you up and settled you in my lap.

I like to meet new babies this way, hopefully, early enough that they can lie on their backs on my lap and fit there entirely while we examine each other. I’d check out your fingers and toes while you stared up at the face that looks a lot like your Nana and tried to figure out just what was going on here. …


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Photo by Kamil Feczko on Unsplash

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year watching British murder mystery series: Miss Marple, Midsomer Murders, that sort of thing. My body has been sore, and I’ve had a lot of brain fog, which makes reading and writing hard to sustain. So, when I can’t sleep, it’s a good old British mystery for me.

After a while, you start to notice recurring themes. I mean, week after week, season after season, how many different methods and motives can anyone come up with?

So, there’s the greed that leads to murder. Nasty, arrogant people who believe they deserve more from life than they’re getting. …


I love it when fiction changes the way you look at the world.

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photo by Barb McMahon

I’m not usually a fan of fantasy adventure novels, but something about the blurb on Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January drew me in. I decided to give it a go, and I’m so glad I did.

From the jacket: “In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and entirely out of place.

“Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.” …


It can if you let it.

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Photo by Romina Farías on Unsplash

I never used to love my body.

I took it for granted, always wishing it was fitter and better looking, completely missing all the amazement and mystery it holds.

I tried to starve it into submission through anorexia for thirty years, starting when I was six. I self-harmed. I berated it for not looking the way I wanted it to, not doing what I wanted it to do. I picked apart my appearance, focusing only on my perceived flaws, missing the beauty that was there, that is there in all of us.

I blamed it for any bad things that happened to me, for not protecting me from bullies or grief, instead of placing the blame with the bullies, where it belonged, or accepting grief as a normal part of life. …


It’s the crappy vehicles that stay in my heart the longest.

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Photo by Barb McMahon

My nephew bought a pickup truck recently.

I sent him a link to my post about Roy. Because I’m a writer, and I always want to share, whether anyone’s interested or not. And as my list of posts gets longer, my nieces and nephews are getting quieter on social media because, don’t get Aunt Barb started…

Anyway, that post made me reminisce about all the other crap vehicles my husband and I and I have owned through the years.

Just after he graduated from Chef School, we had a look at our finances and realized we needed to make some adjustments. We replaced the two-year-old Tracker (it was red!) …


Owning your own business is a real adventure.

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Photo by Barb McMahon

This week, my husband and I celebrated the ninth anniversary of opening our bakery. It’s the longest-running business we’ve ever owned. It’s the longest we’ve stuck to anything except each other.

And that’s pretty cool.

In this world, you can be made to feel like a failure if you move around a bit and try new things instead of sticking to one thing until it’s made you millions. But here we are, nearly sixty and just now finding the business that will last (I say at the risk of dooming the entire enterprise).

It didn’t start off auspiciously. It was a dark rental space in a defunct hotel on the wrong side of the tracks. …

About

Barb McMahon

I’m a post-menopausal woman living with Inflammatory Arthritis. And a bunch of plants. www.happysimple.com support my work at: https://ko-fi.com/barbmcmahon

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