The Cream in Life’s Chocolate Truffle

This morning I woke up thinking about bucket lists and how much I despise them. Okay, I understand it’s a great thing for many people, but personally I’ve never liked bucket lists. Back when I worked in a bookstore named Chapters there was a title along the lines of 1000 Places You Need to Visit Before You Die. And who is really going to visit all 1000 places, and does that make their life more fulfilling for having constantly been on a plane to follow a list of things to do before dying? So while many see the buck list as a beautiful and supportive thing, I guess I’ve just held this grudge for quite some time.

Queen Mary 2 Front Cover

Our Postcard from Queen Mary 2

And in rebellion to the bucket list, (while laying there in my bed) I thought I’d make myself a fuck-it list, to show myself and ‘the world’ (i.e. my imagination of who might be watching in judgement, which in reality is likely no one) that instead of planning the things to do before I die, I’d rather focus on the stuff of LIFE. So I was thinking my fuck-it list would contain riding a Sea-Doo at least once cause they look very cool, building my family, going on the Queen Mary again, spending summers in Balaton, buying a cottage, eating amazing organic cheese, etc.

So as I thought over my fuck-it list, it soon became (I realize now as I write this) a bucket list!

Now* it is midday and I am in downtown Ottawa, sitting on a bench in the shade alongside the start of the Rideau Canal. It’s a world heritage site and kinda wedged between Parliament Hill and the Fairmont Hotel, where the canal spills out into the Ottawa River.

Somewhere out of sight, bagpipes are begging played.

The canal workers are filling and draining locks in front of me.

The sun is bright, the sky is clear, and the shade is cool.

Bicycles are whizzing by . . .

and while I know Tuesday has a very high chance of being a total shit day – because many signs are pointing to ‘yes’ and my oncologist didn’t call last week with any miracle ‘look at these amazing biopsy results’ kinda news – I also know that today is beautiful, and feeling this sort of pleasure is the cream of life itself.

To be part of the moment, part of friendship, part of love, part of beauty, and away from the sadness that has lately settled into the pit of my stomach . . . it is a wonderful feeling to be a participant in this life. I love the fun and exploration, I love the connections and the laughter, I love the joy of something different

. . . these are things that Tuesday will not take away.  I will not lose my ability to be part of the moment, even if some of those moments are terrible ones. And that being part of the moment, to me, is the list. It’s the beginning and the end of the page, and so long as we can find that intangible, hard-to-describe freedom in the cream of life, then I will be satisfied.

Well, that and finally publishing at least one of my novels.

Ha! Okay, slippery slope – I could go on, but I don’t dare in fear of creating yet another version of the bucket/fuck-it list.

Queen Mary 2012

Click to read more

So, in honour of those yummy ‘cream in the truffle’ moments, I’m going to share a postcard Zsolt and I have sent to ourselves from the Queen Mary 2, which was such an amazing experience. We have many of these sort of postcards – every time we go to a new place, we mail ourselves a postcard. Our collection has become a treasure box of memories, and I pulled inspiration for this idea from my great-grandmother’s tin. 🙂

It’s a very inspiring tin 🙂  (It’s even inspired my BIG book publising make-the-dream happen project!)

*Now, as in ‘then’ when I was waiting for my husband and our friend to explore the locks and analyze how they work. They are scientists, those two, so it’s in their nature to care about mechanics. Personally, I prefer to care about the breeze and the sunshine. In any case, this past weekend has been so absolutely lovely. We had a vacation from sadness and heavy thoughts. This weekend was just about laughing, eating well, and sharing our time with a good friend.


**Psst! Want to sign up to be notified when the crowdfunding campaign starts? You can leave your details here and I’ll email you at GO time.

11 thoughts on “The Cream in Life’s Chocolate Truffle

  1. oh, Catherine,I am so fortunate to get to read this beautiful post, while feeling a little smacked down after my surgery. no matter what we will always of days filled with things that delight us, we just have to have to determination to SEE and ENJOY. I continue to hold you in the highest and brightest light of hope for the biopsy report. just keep licking the cream in life’s chocolate truffle, and savoring every bit of it.

    much love,


  2. It sounds like it was a wonderful day. I need to remember to look for a breeze or take note of the sunshine as I meander through the day. I forget sometimes. I will remember to send you positive thoughts on Tuesday….

  3. The “cream of life” is “To be part of the moment, part of friendship, part of love, part of beauty” as you so eloquently describe. May I also add in my words, to be part of the universe.

    May you continue to nurture and experience such moments. Sending gold and silver light your way with love.

  4. I am glad you had a vacation from sadness and heavy thoughts. I have pondered the ‘ol bucket list, but struggle with the concept. I think I prefer the “fuck it list” version myself!

  5. Thinking of you……………. I have a “wish bucket” rather than bucket list – I can pick out something from the wish bucket whenever I want 🙂 Well, some things are easier to pick out than others, the toenail art is easier than seeing an iceberg 😉 Lots of love to you and many chocolate truffles xxxxx

  6. Catherine,

    I missed seeing this post yesterday (Monday) and now today, Tuesday, has brought with it devastating news for you. My hope is that you can hold on to the feeling you invoke in this blog post. It is very special, very life-affirming, and very important. It’s a ladder out of cancer hell. Please re-read it, as I will; it’s a mini-vacation. I love your idea of mailing yourselves postcards while on holiday, BTW. (Your great-grandmother’s brilliance could be a best-selling book.) I have an “un”bucket list; I’m trying not to do as many things as possible. 😉

    Sending hugs and truffles. xoxo

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