Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Random Thoughts at the End of January


This is not my patch of snowdrops, but my neighbour's, and as it adjoins our driveway, I enjoy it to the full. I think it's getting a little crowded and may ask the owner if I can divide a few clumps and move them over to my own garden patch to augment my tiny cluster. 

A light skiff of snow fell in the night, surprising us this morning. I went out early to capture some photos - above is an allium seed head spikey with ice and wet snow. 

Winter has been quite mild here, but sometimes February gives us another blast just to remind everyone that winter is not officially over. Happily, we reached the mid-point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox just yesterday meaning that daylight hours will increase noticeably. I also read that the sun will no longer set before 5 pm until next November. Let's just ignore that and enjoy the lengthening days and coming spring/summer. 

Hellebores are emerging from the ground. I poked around in the garden this morning and found this trio of blooms looking rather shivery. 

First published in 1987, Victoria magazine inspired me in so many ways. I loved reading it in my jungle home in South America, but that's a story for another time. I kept many of my favourite issues, and others collected for me. This month I pulled out January 1994 and re-read Phyllis Theroux's essay "On Keeping a Journal." Here are a few quotes that I find myself nodding to in agreement.

"There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. The mind of the writer inevitably imposes itself upon the style."

"Some time ago, a friend of mine showed me a large trunkful of journals that had been written by his mother, the dutiful wife of a career diplomat. While she was alive, no one, not even her husband, knew they existed. Perhaps, I thought, one of the reasons she kept a journal, as she kept to her diplomatic rounds, was to remind herself that she existed, too."

"...the pages of one's journal are where the least self-conscious and most eloquent (although not necessarily most polished) voice is first found, which is why so many writers often keep one."

I've kept a journal since about 1989, with periodic writings before then. I don't write every day - it's not a diary. I'm opening those journals these days in writing my family's story, and there are things that make me laugh out loud, and others that make me weep. One thing that I wish I could tell my younger self is to be kinder to myself. 

Do you keep a journal? Or a diary? Do you go back and read your past writings? 


  1. Lovely iced flowers! The only journal I kept is one of the last 6 months of Malcolm's life. It was more a record of medication and how he was than any deep thought. But now, I find I can't read it.

  2. During a time when I was particularly depressed, I started a gratitude journal. It changed me. I no longer write of gratitude but feel it…for everything.

  3. Beautiful quotes. Victoria Magazine was a favorite for years along with Yankee and Country Living.
    I do journal. Every few years I shred the boring ones after writing down major events.

  4. Oh Lorrie, you have snowdrops already! Biggest sigh! It will be sometime before we see anything close here. I do love Victoria and although I no longer subscribe will periodically pick it up in the store (and have more than a few I have saved!). I journal as well -- much like you, I suspect. Not daily but when I have something to say to myself! And I try to do an illustration for every entry (well, most of them). My favorite remains my Covid journal, done in 2020. I hope your blast doesn't last too long. We're in the deep freeze right now!

  5. Anonymous6:59 AM

    Oh Hellebores! I’m determined to plant some this year!

  6. Anonymous11:36 AM

    What a great shot of the icy Allium seed head. I used to have a subscription to Victoria magazine but after it lapsed I just picked them up at the thrift store. Recently I found more than a few there including the newer ones Bliss.
    I have kept a diary for many years. I tend to look back only if I'm trying to remember certain events. Granny M

  7. What a lovely snowdrop patch. I planted some a few years ago. They don't seem to be multiplying at all so I must make it a point to go looking for them or I am likely to miss the bloom time entirely.
    I didn't realize we were exactly half way between the two equinoxes. That is encouraging.
    I am not a journal or diary writer. I do, however, have several that my mom kept over the years.

  8. "The mind of the writer inevitably imposes itself upon the style." I love that! This is part of what makes a journal meaningful. I have not always journalled, but when I do go back to read something, I appreciate it in a new way. When I began my blog, I wondered why I would journal for others to read, it's not quiet as private as what one would write in a secret notebook, but when I go back now I am so glad for the motivation to write things I never would have otherwise.
    I love how your journal brought tears and laughter. That means it was worth taking the time to write.

  9. The snowdrops photo is beautiful, Lorrie. I only see them on my Royal Albert January teacup. However, it’s so cold, icy, and snowy here in Texas that they would fit right in.
    I do keep a thankful journal that I write in every night.
    I enjoyed your pockets of cozy post, too. Although I make homemade jam, I have never made marmalade. I should try it sometime.
    Happy February ❤️

  10. Lorrie - the days are noticeably longer here, and I am glad. Having said that, we are under at least two feet of snow here, so it will be months before we see blooms of any kind! In the meantime, I am glad to enjoy yours. Yes, I keep a journal. Sometimes it captures our vacations/adventures so that I can remember them and document them if and when I write a blog post about it. I have a separate hiking journal to keep track of hikes we have completed and particulars about them. Since I retired, I have also been keeping a prayer/reflection journal. Sometimes I use a book as a prompt; sometimes an on-line resource. I do look back at them and often marvel at the (small) things that have dominated my thoughts - good learning for me!

  11. I'm pretty sure I have a few issues of Victoria around here somewhere. I do try to keep a daily diary but have yet to be consistent. Some days I do, some days I don't. We've had a lot of overcast days this year and several days of dusty conditions lately. I've not felt like getting out the past few days; plus, have a cough thanks to my husband who is very good at spreading germs around. :/

  12. I absolutely love the snowdrops photo, Lorrie.
    How beautiful!

    Hugs and blessings!

  13. I have never kept a journal or a diary, and at this stage of my life I am unlikely to do so. I am very taken by the snowdrops. It will be a while before they appear here in southern Ontario, but it will be a moment of great joy when first I see them.

  14. I used to keep a diary years ago but I guess my blog is the nearest thing these days. It’s good to have a record to look back on. No snow here but the snowdrops are peeping out already. Good to have the lighter evenings. B x

  15. Our snowdrop patch is so small. I wish we had planted ten times as much. I spot a few tight buds and will clip some as soon as they open for a tiny vase set up on a shelf so their faces can look down at me while I cook.

    I've journaled seriously since 1990 but ln the past years blogging has often taken the place of writing very often. The handwritten ones are in an old piano bench with a label titled JOURNALS taped on the side that hopefully won't get thrown away or bought in an estate sale. I know how much I would love to have journals from my mother or grandmothers so maybe they'll one day get read by a granddaughter. That being said, I admit I've bought journals on eBay, Thirty years worth by one man who died in the 1980s, all typewritten. He became like a mentor to me, his wife a heroine as he wrote so beautifully about her homemaking. So maybe they were meant to come to me after all.

  16. I like those icy shots. It's always wonderful to see Hellebores pop up. I do keep notebooks that are kind of a journal with a variety of notes, prayers, and quotes. We were just noticing that things were light later these days. Have a lovely weekend.

  17. I've always kept a journal and have some from the 70s! Lately I sit down and write on my computer when I have something to work out. I had a bad December and it helped to write entries just to myself. No one else needs to read it. I always loved the Victoria magazine!

  18. Your garden photos are beautiful. I have kept a journal for years. I save them all, and will occasionally re-read them. LIke you, I laugh at some of the stuff, and wish I had been kinder to myself, particularly as a young mom. Victoria magazine has always been a favorite.

  19. Wonderful 'wintry' photos of your garden. And I also enjoy rereading that lovely essay by Phyllis Theroux "On Keeping a Journal'. I journal most days and have done so since the mid-1980s. And I used scrapbooks to house memories prior to those days. Victoria Magazine was a star companion for so many of us in those early years. I still have all my copies from those early years - I'm loathe to part with them. Happy weekend, Lorrie. Thanks for a lovely post.

  20. I've loved Victoria magazines too, for many years I subscribed. They have such beauty hidden within their pages. I have always journaled, even as a child. In fact, journaling was my favorite part of the day in childhood school years. I have quite a collection of journals. Like you, they are not diaries, but I write as I am inspired. I write about many things. I suspect I'm a blogger today because of my love for journaling. Blogging is like a public journal! Love your snowdrops and snowy allium pictures. We are still snowed in here, more wintery weather this weekend, but we've noticed the days getting longer, and spring is surely now, not far away! Blessings to you :)

  21. Happy February Lori. It's good to reach that halfway point -- I like long daylight evenings.

  22. Lorrie, your garden photos are exquisite (as always)!

    I do not journal, other than my blog. That is one reason that I keep pressing on, albeit at a slower pace than before.

  23. Those snowdrops look lovely, I'm sure your neighbours would be happy to let you have a clump of them!

    I do keep a diary, I don't write in it every day but it's something I've done for many years.

    Happy February Wishes.

    All the best Jan

  24. Anonymous4:05 PM

    I seem not to journal unless I am struggling with something in my life. Love, love the snowdrops and the icy allium too. In my cleaning these day I have decided to get rid of my old Victoria. It is so hard to do that, as they are wonderful. I had back to 1990. I advertised on a "Buy Nothing" facebook page for my neighborhood and no one wanted them. I tossed half of them in the recyle last week and then a friend from my church sent out an email asking for magazines for artwork. I am thankful the rest will be going to her very soon.

  25. Anonymous4:05 PM

    Not sure why it said I was Anonymous. Marilyn Miller

  26. Snowdrops are announcing Spring I love them. Your pictures with ice are very nice. I have some Victoria magazines and often look at them my aunt who was living in Connecticut gave me the first one when I visited her then I got it in France.( I have sometimes problems to comment on your blog my comment disappear before I post it)


Thank you for your comment. I read and value each one, cherishing the connections we can make although far apart. Usually, I visit your blog in return, although if you ask a question I try to contact you directly.

A Bit of This and That

  Off in the distance Mount Baker, in the USA, gleams in the sunlight. My best guess is that it's about 100 km away as the crow flies. T...