I really enjoy the way Google Photos likes to show me what I did on a certain day last year, 3 years ago, 5 years ago, although I suspect there may come a time in the future when it will break my heart. But for now, I both like and need the memory trigger.

5 years ago

On Friday, Google spat out the one above, Keith and I standing in the sunshine on top of Blue Mountain and smiling into the camera. I’d just finished an interview for Side Launch, and thought it had gone really well, and was hoping to get the gig with all my being.

I got the job. And while it had its downside, I can honestly say it was the best job I’d ever had in my life. Until it wasn’t.

I saw the photo come up, and felt again all the hope and need. The despair when I thought I’d fucked up the second interview. The joy when I got the offer. The shellshock of being “restructured” out of the building. So many joys and delights though. Making beer that people loved. Working with people who became pals. Moving to our yellow house, settling in and making friends, putting down roots. It became Home-with-a-capital-H in a way that I never felt in the city.

I smiled when I saw it, and walked in to see the new boss at Collingwood Distillery, who was my old boss at Side Launch, and said a happy anniversary.

“I’m sorry,” he said. Again.

He means it, but I can’t be sorry for coming up here. Life feels good, right, in a way I can’t really articulate. In the words of the late, great Douglas Adams,
 “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

“It’s all good,” I tell him. Again.

Day 21,974

Oh hi. It’s been a hot minute, and since I’m between tasks at work, I’d thought I’d write a blog post instead of any of the other writing sitting on my to do list (like I have a to do list…more like a list of suggested pleasurable activities that I take no pleasure at all in procrastinating).

I think the last time I wrote here, I was still working at Thornbury Cider, and still hoping to find a brewing job. So yeah, both of those situations have changed. After going through two bottles of extra strength ibuprofen and then moving on to prescription muscle relaxers and pain relief, I acknowledged my age and broke up with packaging. Then, I decided that the last brewing job application rejection would be the last brewing job application. I’ve applied at just about every spot up here, and I just cannot do that to myself anymore. Especially when I was told at the last brewery that they went with someone with more experience; they didn’t.

So it’s official; I’ve broken up with craft brewing as an occupation. I don’t know if it’s age, gender, my physique, my personality or what, but I am just not getting the gigs. Fuck it. They may be right. I have the qualifications, but I am also 60 and also getting arthritic…and maybe a tad weird now that I no longer give much of a fuck what people think of me.

So now, I work at Collingwood Distillery. Big production. Unionized. Great benefits. Good people. And the pay is above and beyond what craft beverages are willing or able to offer. And there’s pension matching.

I don’t love it, like I loved brewing. I don’t hate it either. There’s something to be said for making 30% more while doing about 50% less physical labour.



I was 21,665 days old when this picture was taken. We’d spent a really good day on the bikes touring Manitoulin Island, stopping to skip stones and swim. I am struck by just how damn happy I look in this photo. Social media and virtual spaces have never put that look on my face.

I’m out. Twitter makes me angry most of the time, Instagram makes me feel inadequate most of the time, and TikTok just makes me feel old. According to the Death Clock, I’ve got about 7400+ days left. When I look at it that way, the thought of spending any more of my one precious life scrolling through meaningless shit because I’m bored fills me with horror.

Real > Virtual. Always.

Putting this here so I don’t forget

Sometimes I write something good, so good even my inner critic is silent. This is one of those things. From a Sunday write with Tracey, Janet and Bryan.
Prompt is Backyard Song, by Diane Seuss.

Uncorking my bottled life,
shattering the glass against the rocks in the field corners,
laboriously placed there by pioneers clearing the land for tilling.
There are no wild places left up here,
but many tame places left to return to the wild.
The lilacs and daffodils still growing,
still thriving,
in the places they were planted,
marking the outlines of farmhouses and ordered gardens
now decades overgrown.

Join us. Return to the wild,
Say the ordered row of pines
whispering to me with breezes.

I can only laugh in response.
I can’t be truly wild any more than they can.
Roots too deep,
patterns too linear, too ingrained.
The most we can hope for is
wild ish
free ish
uncorked ish.

But still.
There is no going back to corked.
The bottle is broken.
And wild ish is so much better than tame ish.

Days and days

It’s been 531 days since I last worked in the career I love. 411 days since the event that to me marks the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its raining hard right now, with thunder and lightning, as I’m mentally preparing to head to work. Bracing myself. Giving myself a pep talk. I don’t love this work, not the way I loved the last one. But it’s work, it pays ok, and the people are mostly good to work with. I’m appreciated.

I’ve been a mood the last few days where the pep talk was necessary. I had a chance at getting back into the work I love, but it didn’t happen. Did I fuck up the interview? Is the other just more qualified? Move on.

the disappointment has been crushing. I’ve found myself wondering if the sacrifice of my brewing career in order to stay up here was warranted. I felt ripped off, denied, disappointed, disheartened, depressed.

Snap out of it, I tell myself.

This is not how I want to spend my days, moping and letting my mood suck the sunshine from my life.

Make the sacrifice worth it. Learn to play the ukulele. Work on the garden. Write in the green room. Go for long walks on the trails nearby. Take the long way home and see something new. Reconnect with your friends, who are also struggling.

Be present, here here rather than there. Yes, I could have found a job in my career if we were still in the city. But we’d have to be in the city.

It feels so final, one of the four or five breweries up here hiring someone else. It leaves me two or three places left. People keep saying it will happen, and everything happens for a reason. I have to resist the urge to throat punch them and have faith that they may be right.

And now, i will go put on my shoes and raincoat, and head to work. I will have a few laughs with my coworkers, and take enough Tylenol to stop my hands from hurting so much.

The slow fight for sofa dominance

This is Max. Who seems to think he is going to win the war for the couch. I lay down, scooting him off or attempting to share. He moves grudgingly, leaving to crouch on the floor with his back to me, waiting for me to get up. As soon as I do, he is back, curled up in my residual body heat before I’ve even taken two steps. I get a drink or go to the bathroom or get my other glasses or grab the fuzzy blanket and come back to start the cycle again. As of this photograph, we’ve done this dance four times this afternoon.


The house is quiet. The coffee has the perfect amount of Bailey’s in it. The cats are watching the birds outside the window. Keith is in his office. And the sun is coming up in a clear sky.

It’s an auspicious beginning to the new year. I am warm and safe in our yellow house, surrounded by everything and everyoneI love. Well, not everyone. Family is still too far away, and friends are in lockdown. So it’s not perfect.