Happy Birthday to You

My most favourite person was born 34 years ago today.

He’s a thinker, an adventurer, truthful and kind.

And although mushy is my default. And despite the fact that I could be mushy about him all day long, I think it’s worth sharing the pictures behind those words. This is the uncut highlight reel of pictures that make me smile.

I call it: The Real Reason Why I Love Him.


Cooking gumbo.




Blow dart gun and Kumquat practice.



Happy as a clam.


favourite 4


Eating rattlesnake.




This is Wesley being Wesley (as his family would say) and I love him very much.

Happy birthday!


From the Shelf: Recommended by a Friend


An Irish Country Doctor is a James Herriot re-mix. Set in Ireland rather than England, the main character comes to us at the beginning of his doctoring career. And instead of animals he takes a job with the small town, eccentric GP.

Friendless, quiet and proper, Barry Laverty must find his way among the odd people of Ballybucklebo. Along the way he meets a romantic interest (of course), the heard-hearted hypocrite (inevitably) and a lovable, hapless drunk (naturally).

When I realized that the author actually was from Ireland, I must say the story gained some credibility. This novel is also the first installment in a series and the ending did leave me curious to read #2, so I’ll also whole heartedly give it that.

Otherwise, I still couldn’t quite shake the visual of James Herriot as I read. I kept expecting Barry Laverty to encounter a horse with bloat, or be expected to vaccinate a cow.


Let it Snow

We woke up at 6:00 and looked out the front door. The cars were covered in a skim of snow and Wesley also claimed he could feel the flakes hitting his hand.

Our news feeds were filled with cautions and slippery road warnings. There were pictures of children, grumpy from bed and standing by nearly invisible piles. Other people bemoaning the lack of more.

And I love it. No matter how old, the promise of snow is so exciting. A snow day, the very best kind of day off from work.

I used to love the first snow fall in New Brunswick, and in Alabama it’s not different.

Snow means a clean slate, a new promise, a reason to smile. I’ll take what I can get.

A Little Slice of Life

I have a weekly Wednesday date with a friend to chat via Gmail while we work on writing projects.

All this to say – I should be writing something inspirational, when really I just want to stew about a name change.

You think it would be something simple like a trip to some friendly government branch. There’s a grandmother behind the counter with glasses and a national flag hanging behind her. You exchange pleasantries, recipes for peach pie, perhaps… sign your name and that’s it.

Instead, for the last 8 months I’ve been playing the adult version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. One thing effects another, which effects another, until I finally realize that for the next two years – the only thing that acknowledges me a Howell will be my library card.

And so tomorrow I head to the Social Security office for my fourth visit (not counting the times they weren’t open) and perhaps after that, a little jaunt to the DMV.

Until then, perhaps I’ll simply write my name as it suits my fancy. Mind your own business government offices!


Olivia Grace Flewelling Howell Pearl Natalia McDonnelly III



Things I Learned: August Edition

  1. When you’re writing a card and a word doesn’t look right, it’s OK to scratch it out and fix it. Don’t rip up the whole card.
  2. Don’t worry if the music makes you homesick. It will be the most pleasant kind of sadness there is.
  3. Never wait until you’re thirsty to drink water.
  4. Never wait until you’re bored to read a book.
  5. Muscadines are the sweetest, best, plumiest grapes that I’ve ever tasted. They also make my lips tingle and burn.
  6. Keep more stamps around than you think you need.
  7. If you turn your back on a plant, it will be do much better than lots of careful attention.
  8. Changing sheets is the quickest path to getting your act together.


9. A company makes personal essential oil diffusers. Oh my. Oh dear.

Two by Two

After two days of copy work about Noah’s Ark, a trip to Two by Two Petting Zoo seemed appropriate. Besides, the name rhymes.

We enjoyed the pony rides, parrots, bunny snuggles and feeding all the animals. There were free popsicles and why are goats so cute??

When we got into the car, Brin asked Lulu – “Is your underwear sweating?” Which made me laugh, because thanks Alabama for so many loads of sweat soaked laundry and all the showers.

Life sure is fun.