Glancing Back and Looking Forward… Again

Here’s an update on the post I did at this time last year. I’m updating rather than writing a new post, because much of 2021 just felt like a continuation of 2020.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, I like to take stock of the past year and predict what the new year might be like. I didn’t do it last year – probably because I was too busy 60-thinging it – but I wanted to make sure I did it this year. And here we are again.

And what a year it was! I think it’s going to be one of those time-defining years – things will be remembered as being “before COVID” or “during COVID” or (hopefully sometime this year) “after COVID”. Ahh, isn’t it cute how optimistic I was?

Things I miss:

  • My weekly visits to see my mom. We would go out for lunch and then go back to the care home and bake muffins to share with the other residents in her “house”. I’m able to visit Mawsy again now, but we don’t go out for lunch for bake muffins yet. And I do a rapid test before going to visit, just to be safe.
  • Band – the Warman Community Band and the Diamond Jazz Band, especially the Christmas music The Warman Community Band started up again in October and it was great to play Christmas music together, even if it was only for ourselves.
  • Choir – the Contemporary Singers from St. Martin’s United Church, again, especially the Christmas music Choir hasn’t started up again yet, but possibly in the New Year it will.
  • Handbells – the St. Martin’s Ringers and the Zodiac Tapestry Ringers, and again, especially the Christmas music Zodiac Tapestry Ringers have started up again and we did play some Christmas music, but again, just for ourselves.
  • Agility Classes with Posey – Although it was because of my other groups shutting down that we were able to start this, it eventually had to shut down as well. Although we both enjoyed it, it didn’t work out to continue it this fall.
  • The monthly CUPE Dolls Breakfast – a group of retired Saskatoon School Board Support Staff that met the first Tuesday of the month at Grainfields. We did some virtual visits and have gotten together for a few breakfasts. Hopefully once Omicron settles down we can meet again.
  • Getting together for drinks or supper out with friends. I’ve been out for a few lunches. I really appreciate when someone else cook for me now.

But as I look back, I realize that despite COVID, 2020 2021 wasn’t all bad.

What’s in store for happened in 2021?

  • I’ve started another quilt, and hope to finish it before spring – this year, not three years from now. Hahaha – such an optimist. Yeah, I’m still working on it.
  • I’m putting out an ebook version of Dear Me: The Widow Letters in January. Done.
  • I’m publishing a new book, as an ebook and in print, called Dear Me: The Mother Letters, hopefully by February. Similar to The Widow Letters, it will be a book of letters written by women to their past selves, but this time rather than women who have been widowed they are women who have experienced the death of a child. Done, and I did a virtual launch for it on Facebook.
  • I’m doing a Decluttering Challenge in January – whatever the number of the day is, that’s how many things I have to recycle or throw away. I’m pretty sure I can last at least a week, but I’m hoping to last the whole month. It would be wonderful to be free of 496 things by the end. Wish me luck! I did it!
  • I want to continue to take free online classes, but not sure what will be next. Yay Coursera! I’m actually doing one through the First Nations University right now called The Four Seasons of Reconciliation.
  • I hope to explore more regional and provincial parks with Lottie this summer. We visited Lucien Lake Regional Park (by Middle Lake), Fish Lake (by Canwood), and of course, Kimball Lake (by Meadow Lake).
  • And I really hope to be able to start visiting my mom again sometime this year! And as I mentioned earlier, I am.
  • I did a bus tour of the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick) with my friend Jo in September. It was wonderful to travel again, and we managed to hit the sweet spot between variants.
  • I added three new birds to my Life List – one in Saskatchewan and two in the Maritimes.
  • I self-published a set of six fractured fairy tales as ebooks – Victims of Vowel Play – so named because each one was written without the use of one of the vowels. For instance, Snow White Plus the Seven Short Guys was written without the letter A. They were a lot of fun to write and illustrate.
  • I had some of the flooring in my condo replaced and had the interior painted. I’m happy with the new brighter look.
  • I got both my COVID vaccinations and my booster. Yay!
  • There’s less of me! I’ve lost 25 lbs since the beginning of October when I joined Noom. It works for me.
  • For a change of pace, I’ve started writing poetry.

So, not a total waste of a year, after all.

So what’s ahead for 2022?

  • In January I’m training to become a volunteer with Prairie Hospice Society.
  • No big trips planned, but hoping to do more birding trips in Saskatchewan. There are still lots of birds here that I don’t have on my Life List yet.
  • I’m doing another Decluttering Challenge this January. Looking forward to less stuff.
  • I have about another 20 lbs that I’d like to lose.
  • I hope COVID will allow lawn bowling to go ahead this year. I’ve wanted to join since trying it out as one of my 60 Things.
  • I’ve signed up for Gentle Yoga and Qigong starting in January. Hope they can go ahead.
  • Finish the quilt!

Happy(er) and Healthy New Year everyone!

Dear Me: The Widower Letters

In the spring of 2018 my book Dear Me: The Widow Letters was published. It is an anthology of letters written by widows to their newly-widowed selves. I asked them – “If you could send a letter back in time to your newly-widowed self – that heartbroken and overwhelmed woman – what would you say?” Here is the letter that I wrote.



Because the book was so well received by widows and by people who wanted to get a better understanding of what a widow goes through, I decided to publish another anthology – Dear Me: The Mother Letters – in 2021. This time it was mothers who had experienced the death of a child who wrote letters they wished they could send back in time to their newly-bereaved selves.


Now I want to publish another book along similar lines – Dear Me: The Widower Letters. I think men have some different grief experiences than women, and I hope this book will help people understand the unique journey of widowers.

I am looking for letters from men who have experienced the death of their spouse or life partner. I want to know “If you could send a letter back in time to your newly-widowed self, what would you say?” Would they be words of comfort? Advice? Hope? Encouragement? Warning? All of the above and more?

If you are a widower whose loss was at least one year ago, I hope you will consider being a part of this project. The deadline isn’t until the end of 2022, so if you haven’t reached the one year mark yet, please wait to write your letter. It’s better if you have experienced every day of the year at least once since your loss.

If your letter is accepted for this anthology, you will receive $50 CDN and a copy of the book. I do not want to limit how much you write, but I am hoping that the letters will be at least 500 words. You can use your full name, your first name and last initial, or remain anonymous if you prefer. If your letter is accepted, I would like to include a picture of your spouse/life partner and a few sentences about when and how he or she died (in general terms – illness, accident, etc.), how old you were when they died, and how many years it has been since they died.

If you are interested in contributing a letter to this anthology and/or if you have any questions, please contact me at dearme(at)  I would like to have all the letters by December 31, 2022 and hope to publish the book in the spring of 2023.

And if you know of any other men who might be interested in participating, please pass the information along to them. Thank you.

First Lifer of 2021

For birdwatchers a “lifer” is any bird you see for the first time. The longer you’ve been a birder the harder it is to get lifers. I’ve been birding for 10 years now, but I still have a very good chance to get more lifers.

My first one for this year is a Golden Eagle.

Not the greatest photo, but my mantra is always “Get a shot, then try to get a better one.”

I’m now working on updating my bird list photos. As I went through it I found there were lots of birds that I got photos of when I first started out, but that I know I have better photos of now. Here’s an example – the Brown Thrasher was the bird that started me out:

The first one was taken in 2011 and the second one was taken in 2020.

So, better camera, more knowledge and experience, and good luck leads to a better photo. That’s one thing I love about this hobby. Even if the bird you see isn’t a lifer, you might be able to get a better photo of it this time!