Super duper hot sauce


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Mr. Johns wanted one thing for his birthday: homemade hot sauce.

I’d never made it before and was a little intimidated, so I looked up a recipe and found this one. So if you’d like to give it a try, it was pretty easy!

Basically, I sautéed up onions, garlic and hot peppers that I’d frozen. Then I added two cups of water and simmered it for twenty minutes until everything was soft.


After that, I let it cool, blended it smooth in the blender, and added lemon juice (instead of vinegar) and the sugar. Then blended it again.

And here it is! In all its spicy glory. Mr. Johns will have hot sauce to pour on top of absolutely everything.

Much easier than I thought! So I’ll be keeping the man in homemade hot sauce from now on. And it’s hot!






13 years ago


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Thirteen years ago, I married the love of my life. Mr. Johns is the one for me, and that’s never changed.


I always say that you should never marry someone hoping that the spark will develop over time, because there really is no guarantee that it will! For Mr. Johns and I, we had the spark from the first time we met, and no matter what challenges we faced, I knew he was the one. No man has ever made me feel the way he does.

The other day, we went shopping together, and I was just feeling… unattractive. Everyone has days like that, and that was mine. But I slapped on some makeup, put on a dress (it was pretty warm outside) and we went to the mall. And the whole time we were out, my husband checked me out. 😉 And I have to tell you, that after walking in the mall with a guy who smolders for me and holds my hand, I feel a whole lot prettier! His attention never wanders. I’ve never once seen him check out another woman. I’m his. He’s mine. And he’s very satisfied.

With my husband, I get to be the most beautiful woman in the room. He always tells me that a man should never marry a woman for her personality, but for her looks. He says, “If you’re going to be married to her for the rest of your life, you’d better think she’s gorgeous.” And that has always given me confidence. Obviously, he married me for more than my looks. We’re soulmates–he tells me that in the love letters he writes me on our anniversary each year. But he also thinks I’m beautiful, and 13 years in, I can still draw his eye. After childbirth. After 13 years of aging. After extra pounds and gray hair.

I married the right guy!


Better than stitches


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I was tired this Mother’s Day weekend. And when I get tired, I tend to be a hazard in the kitchen. I can be clumsy at the best of times, but make me tired, too, and it can be catastrophic.

This time around, I had freshly sharpened a knife and was slicing oranges. I don’t know what happened, but the knife slipped off the peel and hit my two fingers. I sliced into both of them going through all that flesh on the side and into my finger nail. There was copious amounts of blood.

Mr. Johns stared at me in horror. Just froze and stood there. My ten-year-old son went straight into 911 mode. Last thing I needed was an ambulance, although a stitch or two would have been helpful.

I didn’t want to be driven to an emergency room, either, to compete with heart attacks and people bleeding worse than I was, so I opted for the “bandage it up really tight” option. Mr. Johns finally unfroze and helped me with that.

Then I knocked my hand against something and ended up leaving a puddle of blood, so I figured I needed a little more than that, and bought these lovely thingies:


These work really well! They hold a cut together nicely, and I could feel a real difference with one of these holding together the finger with the worst cut. So this is the second day’s bandaging, and it was much prettier than Day 1, which was quite bloody and gross.


If there was any doubt that the guys should be taking over kitchen duties, chopping my fingers solidified that. It was a very nice Mother’s Day in the Johns home. 🙂 You know, besides the gaping wound. But I felt very loved and cared for.

And I couldn’t have done the dishes if I tried! LOL!

It could change everything


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Most of our competition, in my humble opinion, surrounds men. We compete to get male attention, or to keep male attention. Don’t tell me high heeled shoes are for us.

There’s nothing wrong with looking good. I try to look my best, too. So I’m not saying we should all just let it go, but looking at each other as mutually beautiful creatures instead of competition could change a lot for us.

I think writers are naturally competitive–although less with our looks and more with our professional accomplishments. Still, I think the theory applies.

I’ve been practising a different outlook for a couple of years now. When I see another author who has achieved the thing I want most (at the moment,) I pray, “God, thank you for blessing her. Please also remember me.”

Because there is room for more than one beautiful, successful, accomplished woman. In any sphere. If we stop being competition, we become community.


$15 and 20 minutes


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20180506_104327Every Spring, I spend about $15 and take about 20 minutes to put my flowers into the planters on the balcony… and it gives me hours of relaxation all summer long as I watch my flowers grow!

So this weekend, since the weather is gorgeous and the forecast is calling for nice weather from now on, I put my flowers in before the May long weekend. Very daring of me. Especially this far north. 😉

So here are a few pictures of my planting.



I plant Petunias every years because they seem to be the only plants that can survive me. Our town puts them in big planters at every street corner, and they thrive in pretty much anything Northern Alberta can heave at them from spring through fall.

I’ll post more pictures once they take root and start to really flourish. They get so pretty!



Here I am squinting into the sunlight for my selfie. I’m awfully proud of my little planters every year, so I just had to squeeze in there with them!

My writing buddy


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You may recall that I got my little green Quaker parrot a while ago, and he has been settling in ever since. He’s a lot of fun!

He’s also really full of personality and spoiled rotten. He has me home with him all day, so he’s never alone. We have another bird he likes to visit, too, so he’s got lots of interaction. He likes trying any food we eat for dinner, and if we don’t give him any he screams at us and it drives Mr. Johns crazy. So Pichu now has a plate of his own, and we give him a dollop of whatever we’re having so he can eat at the same time, and that seems to have solved that problem.

He’s also smart enough that time outs work. So if he nips or something, he gets a time out. We set the timer on the stove for five minutes and he’s ignored for that amount of time. It’s stopped the nipping, because there is nothing this bird hates more than being ignored. He’s now very gentle. I can hold his beak in my hand, rub his head, touch his feet… He’s very sweet!

So while I write, he’ll either sit on my shoulder, sit on the back of my chair, or sit at his cage. And when he gets bored, he squawks at me until I stop typing and play with him, or he beats up this rag that he likes to play with.

On this particular day, he found my post it notes. I took the picture before he shredded them. 😉







He’s got me by the heartstrings! Such a sweet birdie.

Bookish Flirting


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When I was taking my English degree in university, I had this particular English class that had more guys in it than usual. Normally, English classes are chock full of women, but this one had a few different guys, and I met one who started dating. We’ll call him Alpha Guy.

Now, the word “alpha” should be taken with a grain of salt because this was, after all, an English lit course. All the guys I ever met in English Lit courses were brainy and bookish. Well, Alpha Guy was brainy and bookish, but also tall and muscular. There was instant chemistry, and we started dating.


Now, there was another guy in the class who’ll we’ll call Sweet Guy. He was thin, short, way smarter than the rest of us, and totally interesting. But not as someone I wanted to date. He was shorter than me and of a pretty thin build. I could probably have bench pressed him. He had been really nice to me that semester, but I didn’t think of him as anything more than “that guy who will get an A+ on our next paper.”

Alpha Guy ended up being a massive jerk. We won’t get into that, but before I clued in to exactly how unworthy of my time he really was, he stood me up. We’d made a plan to meet in a certain building at a certain time after our classes were over, and I went there, but he never showed up. I waited and waited, and started to feel stupid.

Then Sweet Guy walked in. I tried to pretend I hadn’t been waiting long, but I must have looked ticked off because Sweet Guy walked up to me and said,

“Are you waiting for Alpha?”

Me: “Yeah, he’ll be here soon, I’m sure.”

SG: “How long have you been waiting?”

Me: “Like, half an hour. Maybe I’ll just go.”

SG: “I gotta tell you… I’d never keep you waiting like that.”

Me: (unsure if I’d even heard him right) “What?”

SG: “I wouldn’t.”

Then he looked me in the eye, gave me this small smile, and walked out. Didn’t turn back. Just walked away. And Sweet Guy suddenly became a whole lot more interesting!

I ended up dumping Alpha Guy (and good riddance!), and Sweet Guy probably went on for his PhD. I don’t know. But I hope he found someone amazing who melted for him and saw the passionate man under that reserve. He deserved that.

Eventually, I would meet Perfect Guy–muscular, sweet, smart, totally in love with me and still is to this day. He wasn’t an English Lit guy, either. He was a computer guy. I married him. ❤


University of Toronto: Victoria College

Claire and Frank and Jaimie


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Any Outlander fans out there? I’m sure there are tonnes of you! I never did get around to watching it until a few days ago when I watched the first episode and then had to go to bed because it was late. I knew a few things about the series (but not enough), so after watching the first episode, I thought, I like the serious and sweet husband, Frank. Is she seriously going to go back in time and cheat on him with a cutie patootie Scotsman??


Yes, these are the things that over-thinkers worry about. And I was quite worried about it! Because cheaters always think they are deep and complicated people, and they revel in their conflicted feelings. But they aren’t deep. They’re just cheaters. (I have strong feelings about that, you might have noticed.) And I didn’t want Claire to be a cheater! Because if I got invested in a show and found out I couldn’t respect the main character, then I’d be really annoyed.

But everyone was raving about the show, so I decided to look up a few spoilers to put my mind at ease that it wasn’t just a glorified affair. But then I got sucked down the rabbit hole of spoilers because it’s a seriously interesting plot, even when you’re reading spoilers about it, and now I know how the whole series goes, and I’ve ruined it for myself.


I need to find a new Netflix show to binge on, and someone needs to remind me not to look up any spoilers.

But I have to know–are there any fans of the show who like Frank better than Jaimie? I haven’t come across any yet, and while I haven’t watched much of the show, I DO like Frank better! He’s more appealing to me, even if he has horrible ancestors.

Opinions, anyone??

The here and now


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Life never turns out quite like we imagined, does it? I think it would be boring if it did!

I’m a real goal-oriented person. I’m never quite so happy as when I’m aiming at something higher. And when I’m aiming up, I think, “It will be so amazing when I get there! I’ll have really arrived. I’ll be able to sit back and enjoy it.”

But I don’t. I arrive, and then I look around myself and realize, “Huh. Nice view. Not exactly what I thought it would be, though… But you know what? Up there! That’s what I need!”

Sometimes I don’t quite hit the mark, and I’m left a few feet short, feeling frustrated. It wasn’t supposed to end up like that. They say if you aim for the moon, if you miss, at least you land among the stars. But there are millions of light years between stars, my friend! But what can you do? I pin my hopes and all my effort onto the next goal, because… that’s just me.


While there are perks to being a hard working go-getter, I think there are also perks to being able to sit back and enjoy the here and now, whether it’s a few feet shy of those ambitious daydreams or not. Because at some point, I dreamed of this. Or something very close. I might not always hit the moon, but I’m sure as heck off the ground!

So don’t get me wrong, I’m totally going to keep aiming at the next goal. I mean, why not? It’s fun! It keeps things interesting. And frankly, it’s an integral part of my personality. But sometimes there’s a long work period until you achieve the next level you’re aiming at. Sometimes the moon is so close, yet so far… So I’m going to do my best to enjoy the here and now, too.

Because I do love my life! ❤ And view from here is gorgeous.

I’m not as mean as I seem


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It’s hard to explain my job. People don’t know what to expect when you say that you’re a writer. When you tell people that you work from home, they assume that you have the best of both worlds, and that you have time for relaxing, for family, for favours… and you make an income! But that isn’t really true.

I might choose my workload, but that choice is based on how much money I need to make. I don’t get paid by the hour. I get paid when the book the is done. No one cares how many hours it took me to write it, edit it and polish it up. All they care is that I have it done by deadline. (And I always do. 😉 )

I don’t have a workplace to come home from. That means it’s hard to tell when I’m busy or free. I’m home. I’m around. For 90% of the population, that means you’re free. If someone works long hours and gets home late, people know to give you a bit of space with your family. “Wow. She must be exhausted. Let’s leave her alone.” But there are no such cues when you work from home. So I have to say it in so many words: “I’m sorry, but I’m really busy. REALLY busy. I’m not going to be available for a while. Maybe a few months.” And that sounds like a brush off–and I get it! I hear the way it sounds, too!

I’m really not as mean as I seem when I say that I’m busy. I’m just… busy. And probably a little overwhelmed, because when I get busy, my family starts getting more demanding of my time, too. And then I have to prioritize my family and my deadlines, and everything and everyone else falls behind them.

I’m not as mean as I seem when I say that I’m busy. I promise.

And for the record? I’m really busy right now.