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Tuckered in Toronto

MA & Phyl at Chelsea

Tuckered in Toronto


MA & Phyl at Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, ON

“Let’s start by taking a smallish nap or two.

– Winnie the Pooh

I made my annual trek to take my Aunt Phyl from Guelph to Toronto last week…

And spent a significant amount of time sound asleep in one bed or another.

What a concept…to rest before one gets sick! But I dare say it worked. I am feeling more relaxed and rested than I have in a long time.

Phyl technically isn’t my Aunt. She’s one of my Mom’s dearest friends. They graduated together from Nursing School at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1949. So although I don’t have my Mom to hang around with anymore, I do still have her BFF…and how cool is that?!

Phyl is sharp as a tack. We chatted for hours on end about life, love, family, politics, climate change, religion, healthy eating…you name it, we probably touched on it.

My eldest brother, Pat, and his partner, Mary (who flew in from Finland where she is working as a geologist), met up with us at the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. Over three days, the four of us chatted, drank coffee, relaxed, drank more coffee, ate, went to see the Come From Away musical at the Elgin Theatre (it was excellent), met up for dinner with a few other friends, ate some more…and, of course, slept.

Phyl & her Hummer of a walker…it was an adventure walking THAT down Yonge Street at lunch hour 🙂


Pat, Mary & Phyl in the Distillery District


Pat & Mary

Meanwhile back at the ranch (the acreage belonging to my brother, George, and his wife, Donna, near Strathmore, Alberta), Sadie was happy as a clam under their care, relentlessly squeaking her new Lambchop toy, nibbling the tops off their brand new peony plants (sigh) and waking them up at 5:30 a.m. just…because. This might explain why I was actually able to sleep in, while in Toronto.

Sadie slightly tired after training a new household

As for why I was so exhausted in Toronto, it was the wise & wonderful 93-year-old Phyl who put her finger on it. Our conversation went something like this:

“Gee,” I said after yet another 2-hour mid-afternoon nap in the middle of downtown Toronto, “I can’t figure out why I’m so tired.”

To which Phyl looked at me, incredulous, raised one eyebrow and said, “Well…let’s recap. After seven years of constant noise, you finally sold your home in Sidney, packed up all your belongings, put them in storage and then proceeded to travel and live here, there and everywhere for 18 months with an elderly dog. Then you bought a new house, are still trying to unpack AND get rid of excess stuff, whipping a new garden into shape and hosting out-of-town visitors every weekend…all the while working full-time on mentally demanding projects.”

“Well, when you put it like that,” I said, “maybe I have been trying to do too much.”

Up went the other eyebrow.

“My head does feel a bit fuzzy,” I confessed. “I can’t seem to think as sharply. It’s like my brain is tired.”

“You,” she said, “need to learn how to RELAX! You know how to have fun, I’ll give you that. But I think you would really benefit from taking things a bit more slowly. In the long run, you’ll get a lot more done.”

I reckon you don’t get to 93 without learning a thing or two about life. As such, I am going to take Phyl’s advice and try and chillax a little more often.

Now if I could just get my Retriever to sleep in once in awhile 🙂

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.



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7 thoughts on “Tuckered in Toronto”

  1. It was great meeting Aunt Phyl and you along with Pat, Mary and the 2 sisters. Hope we can all get together again next year. Aunt Phyl is wonderful!

  2. It was fantastic seeing you, too, Jennifer! Thank you so much for meeting up with us in Toronto. Phyl really liked you, too 🙂

  3. Such wise words, although it can be so much easier said than done. It takes a conscious effort to slow life down and relax, but I think if we could do that and focus on doing less but doing it better, then I think there’d be a much deeper level of satisfaction to be found.

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