Monday, April 30, 2007

CyberSpace 42

So the Blogosphere is to end in a glorious crashing apocalypse. Now what? What are my famous last cyberwords?

That’s the premise of the charity-driven meme from Urban Monk and I was tagged by Michael.

Oh, how I would love it to be witty like “42” or “So long and thanks for all the fish.” (RIP Douglas Adams)

Fact is, I got nuthin’.
Nothing original or witty or poignant or insightful.

I’ve enjoyed blogging. The thrill of having readers may not ever wear off. I don’t see how it can.
It was exciting to check Sitemeter and find out I’d had traffic from China, Indonesia, Lebanon, India. Someone from every continent but Antarctica has had a sniff. They didn’t stay, but they were there, and that’s darned exciting.

Blogging gave me back a way of communicating I thought had ended when I left newspaper reporting six years ago. I had a place to voice my opinions and learn what others thought of my stance.
When readers agreed with my newspaper columns I sometimes heard about it. When they disagreed I always heard about it.
I was once told to “get an education.” Another time I was mentioned at four churches on the same Sunday. Readers occasionally prayed for me. I kept all the letters to the editor about me after they ran in the paper.
When public opinion of my thoughts was scarce I’d take them out and roll in them just to remember why I wrote a column.

It meant I was being read. And more importantly, it made people think. I like to think that I’ve done that on the blog so my final post of the blog apocalypse will echo what I said when my reporting career ended, “Thank you for reading me.”

NB I’m supposed to tag others as I have been tagged.
Consider yourself tagged.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Goodbye, Scotty

James Doohan’s ashes are being sent into space tomorrow.
(Read more here

It’s a poignant and fitting tribute to the man best known and loved as Lt.-Cmdr. Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise on the original Star Trek.

The original series was the best. It was never about space or special effects or science fiction. Because of that it stays in reruns and the episodes can be watched over and over again.

Star Trek was more real to me than anything on television.
I hadn’t realized how much of an impact the show had on me until one day in the early 1980s. I had a government drone job and was on my way back to the hive by way of a shortcut through The Bay store. A radio station was announcing a contest and I swear the prizes included “one of 10 Air Canada trips to the Neutral Zone!”

I’d go in a heartbeat.

Doohan’s death took a wee bit of my childhood with it. It’s a reminder of mortality and the bittersweet passage of time.
Consigning his ashes to the stars makes it real to me all over again.
Of course Mr. Scott is in space.
Where else would he be?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Wonder What That Means?

It’s bad enough that I sometimes can’t read my own handwriting. I occasionally forget what I meant by the scribbled noted in the manuscript margin.

The first problem is when I’m correcting I sometimes
a) use a pencil
b) write very small
It’s usually only a typo. If I can’t read my squiggle I can still see the problem because my squiggle is right at the mistake.

The second problem is more difficult. Crossing out words is easy to follow, but adding them in is a challenge. If they’re just illegible I have a reasonable chance of reasoning them out. But sometimes the words are perfectly legible, but I don’t recall why I thought they belonged.
Yesterday I was doing the corrections on my ms. I’d read it over several weeks ago and knew I should get right at my corrections and get them done.
I did chapter one within a day or so, rewrote it a bit, and then decided to let the dust settle.
Yesterday I got back to it. One the first page of second chapter in neat hand in the left margin I found the phrase
“letting ourselves enjoy.”

It could relate to either of two paragraphs. It doesn’t.
It doesn’t fit anywhere. I have no idea what it was we should be letting ourselves enjoy.
I’m sure its stellar advice, though. I intend to let myself enjoy as much as I can.
But I’d enjoy it a lot more if I knew what it was I meant.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Be Careful What You Say

Ever since I wrote about getting up early I’ve been sleeping in.
I was careful to not deal in absolutes when I wrote it as that gets one into trouble. But it seems like the mere act of writing about it at all has messed it my routine.
I still greet the mornings. It’s closer to 6:30 than 5:30 most mornings although today I was up at 5:30 and I feel way better for it.

I want to blame it on adjusting to the time change, but that’s getting a bit old now.
I could heap credit on the cold, wet weather, though that doesn’t seem fair. I just plain lack the verve that got me out of bed and outside even when it was a clear and crisp –40C.

So here’s my plan. I’m going to vow right this minute that I’ll never get out of bed early again.
I shall laze in bed and slugfully return to the days when my husband brought me my morning coffee and the newspaper in bed.

And while I’m at it:
I absolutely will not be commercially published. Ever.
That’ll show me.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Editing is You’re...oops...Your Friend

I know the difference between your and you’re. They’re easy to remember and easy to use, but it still doesn’t stop me from throwing down the wrong one in a sentence and not seeing the error of my fingers.

The first one means something belongs to you; it’s yours.
The second is a contraction of you and are. It can warn of an impending opinion like, “You’re a dolt for always mixing up your and you’re.”

I’ve done it a few times in commenting on blogs. Sometimes I catch it. Often I go in a post a second comment making up for the mistake in my first comment. It bothers me that much.

I do it in my writing too frequently for my comfort and don’t always notice it. Spell check is interesting at the best of times and all but useless here.

I’ve gone over my third ms several times. I’ve had betas go over it. Mistakes were pointed out. Corrections were made.

I started shopping it a few months back and then recently went over it again.
I read it out loud this time. It forced me to think about what I was reading and really see it rather than skip along assuming that what was supposed to be there was really there.

I still found your vs. you’re mistakes.

Okay, at least I caught ‘em before any publisher asked to see it. But I wonder, if it sits another six months what other horrors will I find?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cart Smart Action

Here are the photos of the CartSmart in action.

Along with the two outside pockets shown here it’s got three inside pockets. They’re ideal for keys, cell phone, wallet, etc. and the main deep pocket is great for carrying a small amount of groceries like bread, milk, and eggs.

Thanks to the Rocky Mountain House Co-op for letting me use a store shopping cart and parking lot in the photos.

Friday, April 20, 2007

We’re From the Government. We’re Here To Help You

Here’s a head-shaking moment courtesy of government bureaucracy.
I’m waiting for a call back from the Public Trustee’s office. I like to think I won’t be waiting long to clear up this matter, but the government’s pace can be glacial.

A few years ago my Uncle Reynold died in government care. He’d been a ward of the Province for most, if not all, of his adult life.
Consequently his government cheques such as AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) were banked.

A few month ago my dad was advised that everything was sorted out as to who gets how much and that cheques were to be sent out.
Shortly after finding this out my dad passed away. Logically, the simplest and easiest thing to do is make dad’s cheque out to his estate.

But this is the government and logic is a stranger in a strange land.

I asked the Public Trustee’s office back in January what they needed from me in order to get Uncle Reynolds’ money released.
The fellow I spoke with said I needed to send him a copy of the probate.
But probate wasn’t necessary in my dad’s case.

The fellow didn’t have a response for that so he said he’d get back to me.
Yesterday I received a letter from the Public Trustee’s office advising me that I needed to send along a copy of the Grant of Probate.

I’m sure this fellow is just following the rules.
He’s probably forgotten that I said there was no probate.

I’m sure this can be handled simply and efficiently, but for now I’m just going to shake my head.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Smart Idea

I got my Cart Smart bag in the mail yesterday. I can’t wait to try it out.

My cousin, Terry Utas, invented the Cart Smart. It’s an environmentally friendly bag with straps that hook over a shopping cart handle. The wide straps are set a comfortable distance apart so you rest your hands on it, not the icky cart handle.

It’s got some outside pockets for your cell phone, car keys, coupons, etc. and a main pocket deep enough to carry a purse, a few reusable shopping bags, or even some groceries if you’re only running in to get a few things.

It’s brilliant.

The carrying straps are just the right length to sling it comfortably on a shoulder and it rolls up for convenient storage.

As soon as I can I’ll take it out for a test run and get a picture to post here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hello Is Wrong

Yesterday I received one of those annoying computer-generated phone calls. Of course I didn’t know that’s what it was when I answered so I foolishly said, "Hello."

Silly me.

Apparently that’s just not right.

Techno-voice perkily advised me, "That was an invalid response. To talk t-"

This irritated me greatly. Since when is a proper greeting invalid?

Does this sort of thing really work? Will enough people be intrigued to-–presumably-—press #1? Are we so careless, or curious, that we fall for this?

I hung up right then and there. I may never know where I went wrong and how to make amends.

But I must confess, I am curious.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Abundance Cheque Time

It’s new moon today and that mean’s it’s time to write yourself an abundance cheque.

Take a blank cheque from your chequebook and write your own name in the pay to the order of line.
In the dollar amount box at the end of that line write “Paid In Full.”
In the amount line write “Paid In Full”
Sign it “The Law of Abundance.”
In the memo line write “Thank You.” This optional, but you’ll never go wrong saying thanks.
Do not put a date on it.
Put the cheque away somewhere and don’t think about it.

If your don’t have a cheque book or you’ve run out of cheques, simply draw one and fill it out accordingly.

Plenty comes in many forms. It could be money, work, fun, or free time. It could even be an abundance of houseguests that bring you joy and happiness.

The endless supply of the Universe is for everyone and will get you what you need.

Cheques need to be written every month on the new moon. Find out the time of the new moon in your area and write your cheque within 24 hours of it.

You can find the new moon times in your area here:

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Violent, Insane Sister

My sister, whom I wrote of in an earlier post, is violent. She dedicated her young life to hitting and scratching me. By the time she was 12 she had long, sharp, pointed fingernails and she took great delight in using them as talons.
She liked to dig into the soft flesh of my arms just below the elbows and rake her way down.
Yeah, she drew blood.

Sometimes I hit back even though I knew it would just make it worse. At least I got to inflict some pain back.

She’s four years older than me. When we were young she was bigger and stronger. And she was the favorite.
Near as I could figure it, she was the favorite because my parents first child, a boy, died after a few months. Dawn came along a few years later and lived.

By the time I got here the novelty had worn off. If memory serves my mom had a miscarriage back when I was seven. It did not have an impact on how I was viewed.

Dawn is, or was, very smart. Book-learning smart I called it because she doesn’t seem to be able to apply what she’s learned to actual, real life situations. I don’t for a moment believe she has a lick of common sense.
So there she was smart, popular and could get away with doing or saying just about anything. If I spoke up around company my mom would turn to me and ask, “How do you know so much?”
Dawn would come out with some ridiculous torn-from-the tabloid-headlines comment and the conversation turned to it.

She beat me quite regularly. I figured it out once to an average of 2-3 times a week until I was 10 years old. We moved into a larger house when I was ten and I had room to avoid her.
Sometimes she pounded me with her fists, but for the last few years I was raked or gouged by her fingernails. The scratches and gouges were deep and lasted several days. I’d get a fresh batch before any had a chance to heal.

I was ashamed of them. I thought if anyone could see them they’d know I deserved them so I covered them up.
In Gr. 4, irrespective of the weather I wore three layers, a turtleneck, a shirt over it and a sweater over the shirt. I was scared that everyone could still the long hideous scratches on my arms.
I’m no longer ashamed of this and haven’t been for many years now. Her anger, jealousy and inability to deal with me, or almost anyone for that matter, are her problems, not mine.

She is insane. It wasn’t discovered until her teen years, but if you ask me, she was nuts from birth. Oh, if anyone out there has a problem with my use of the slang term “nuts,” feel free to call me out on it.

I lived as the preferred target of a violent, mentally ill sibling. I’ve got a right to say what I like about mental illness, and there’s not much anyone can do or say to me that’ll bother me.
If you want mental illness treated with sensitivity, you won’t get much of it here. I’m speaking for the sane ones like me out there that no one thinks about.

More information about sibling abuse here

and here

and here’s a news article about an abused sibling:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Many Swans A-Swimming

We saw swans yesterday. We don’t see them that often and it was a treat.

They were in a small pond of water in a farmer’s grain field about 30 miles west of Red Deer. They were too far away for me to count, but I’d say there were at least two dozen of them and I’d say they were Trumpeters.

Spring is a wonderful, life-affirming time of year and this year is wetter than we’ve had in quite some time. I think the ducks and geese and swans are happy having all those pools to choose from.

We saw plenty of red-tailed hawks, too. Some were in flight, but most of them were perched on fence posts staring intently down at the stubble for a snack.

What we didn’t see were red-winged blackbirds. We’ve had open water for a while now and there are plenty of cattail marshes around.

I suppose I’ll have to be patient. I’m sure they’ll be along any time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Flipping Triskaidekaphobia

Friday the 13th is nothing to be afraid of.
Fear of it does not have any basis legitimate basis. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many tortured explanations for it.

I’ve heard that it’s due to The Last Supper. Jesus and the 12 Apostles add up to 13 and, of course, it turned out lousy for Jesus.

And I’ve heard it’s because that’s the day in 1307 that the Knights Templar were rounded up to be exterminated. It didn’t work out exactly as planned, but it was still a lousy day for the Templars.

Perhaps the most tortured explanation is to do with Wiccans. Covens have 13 members, 12 plus the High Priestess.
Calling it unlucky because of this is offensive, disturbing and belittling. It’s one more way that organized religions have attacked the old ways. Mainstream religion likes to use fear to keep us in check. They claim to spread love, and they use fear to do it.

But back to Friday the 13th. Run out of gas? Lock yourself out of the house? Forget to record your favorite show? Trip over the cat?
No matter what happens, it’ll be Friday’s fault.

Why not flip it over? Decide today is a good day and that only good things happen on Friday the 13th. If you’ve made up your mind that it’s going to be a lousy day, that’s what you’ll get. If you decide it’s good, then it will be.

See for yourself.

And have a great day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sign From The Universe

I got a sign from God/Universe recently. I asked for it to be an obvious sign so I wouldn’t be able to dismiss it.

It was.

And now I’m booked into a reincarnation retreat in Montana next month with featured speaker Dr. Barbara Lane.

I’ve read her books. A few years ago my husband went with his family to one of her weekend workshops in Calgary and brought me back all three of her books. I read two of them right away and started the third, then put it down to finish later.

Last week I decided that I had to catch up on my reading and that meant finishing about half-a-dozen books that I’d begun reading in the past few months and years. Just last Wednesday I finished Lane’s book Echoes From Medieval Halls. (A.R.E.® Press 1997 4th Printing 2003)
The brochure advertising the retreat was in the following day’s mail. The retreat is hosted by Association For Research and Enlightenment ® and my membership number was on the address. That’s perfectly sensible.

Except I haven’t been a member of the A.R.E.® in 11 years.

Among the sessions is “Discovering Your Soul’s Purpose.”

I’d been wondering what else I was supposed to do. I’ve had a feeling for the past few years that writing and hypnotherapy are only part of it. I’d asked the Universe for a sign to show me what else I should do.
This is clearly the sign.

Thank You, Universe, for making it obvious.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Coffee Time

Commenter Isabella Mori asked if there were any automatic things I didn’t include in my post about the Successful Secrets.
Well, the big one is coffee. I restrict myself to two cups a day, in the morning, though I make exceptions.

When we were in Costa Rica in 2001 I drank as much of it as I could. Some of the best coffee in the world is grown there and the Ticos are justifiably proud of their product. As such, it all but flows from the taps.

At our hotel in Arenal the coffee was on and it was free to guests. It was just outside the lobby in a recessed area complete with comfortable chairs. It was a glorious place to relax.

Arenal’s chief drawing card is its volcano. It dominates the skyline and it was shooting sparks when we were there. The trick is you have to get up before 6 a.m. to see it, though, as the clouds start building about then and it’s obscured by 6:30.
Early is easy for me and it was already light. I made my way to the hotel’s roof volcano viewing area early enough and stopped by the reception area to see about coffee. Despite it having sat all night it was still tastier than most I’ve had here.

It was far different from the version I drank in Peru years earlier. At one particular place it was boiled down to a syrup and poured into my cup to about one-third full.
It seemed absolutely perfect as it was, but my waiter proceeded to thin it with water to make a full cup. It was okay, but I do wish I’d just had the syrup.

Fellow blogger Bunnygirl posted the other day about a new product called “Java Juice.”

It’s a liquid coffee extract in individual packets that are easily transported. You can add hot or cold liquid to it as you see fit and enjoy a proper cup wherever you go.

I wonder if the inventor spent a bit of time in Peru?

Here’s Bunnygirl’s take on it:

More about Java juice:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Tagged! My Ten Things For Success

Isabella Mori at moritherapy at
tagged me recently.
It’s the Simply Successful Secrets experiment started at
The idea is to list the top five to ten things you do every day to help you be successful.

So what do I do to be successful? I take this to mean what do I do to ensure I have a good day.
I posted something similar recently. That meant I’d have to think a bit further instead of simple recap.

If I’m happy, then I’m successful. As long as I’m engaged in the world, intellectually stimulated, and invested in my environment, then I’m happy and therefore a success.

Enough blathering. Let’s get to it.

#1. Get up early. Morning is my best time. Mid-evening is a close second, but the early hours are still and quiet and good for thinking.

#2. Read the daily newspaper. I like to know what’s going on in the world without having to sit through stories of dogs rescued from thin ice and intrusive questions posed to grieving families. I was a journalist for 19 years. I know it’s part of the job. But tell me about the tax increase before the first commercial break please.

#3. Exercise, especially yoga. Toning the body tones the mind, too. Exercise leads to greater physical awareness and that makes relaxing into a hypnosis or meditation session that much better.

#4. Bacon. I need a hot breakfast. I’ve taken to eating beef or bison bacon because it’s easier on me than pork, but I’ve noticed that skipping meat with the morning meal makes me feel like out of sorts for the day.

#5. Express gratitude. I thank the Universe/God/All That Is everyday for all I have received. I do it outside, first thing, as my coffee brews.

#6. Quiet. I need some time each day even if I just sit in the sunlight at my kitchen table alone with my thoughts. It’s my time.

#7.Self-hypnosis or meditation, usually followed by a nap. It’s relaxing, quiet, and it’s spiritual exploration. I’ve followed scripts where I saw my own birth, regressed myself to a past life, and even used a progression scripts to visit the future. I’ve given myself suggestions about cleaning the house and the next thing I knew I was down on my hands and knees with a toothpick cleaning under the baseboards.

#8. Go outside. I usually do this first thing in the morning, but if I don’t, I make a point of stepping out to get some fresh air into my lungs. It clears my head and wakes me up. A look at the moon and stars restores my emotional balance.

#9. I visit my favorite blogs and websites. I’m entertained and I learn things.

#10. Laugh. Or at least smile about something. I have to see the good and the funny in the world or I’ll become miserable, stingy, and negative. I will have joy in my life. It’s easy to be negative. Joy can take a bit of work some days, but it’s well worth it.

I tag

Monday, April 2, 2007

Final Notice To Negativity Believers

Negative people are such a drain. They have no joy in their lives and they don’t want you to have any either. I’d venture to say their whole reason for living is to suck the joy out of life.

All events in their lives are bad. No solution is viable. No matter what is suggested to them as a way to get through the problem it is impossible.
They’re quick to tell you exactly why it can’t work and why nothing else will work either. You’re wrong, they’re right, and it’s hopeless.

It’s not hopeless nor is it the end of the world. If something did go right for them, though, then it would be the end of their world. Therefore, you can’t win with these people. They’d be lost and rudderless, unable to cope with hope.

I feel sad for these people, but that’s where it ends. I’ll have nothing more to do with then, and I’ll not entertain any more of their whining.

Stop telling me what you can’t do and start telling me what you can.
If you chose to not do that, then get out of my life.

I refuse to be weighed down by your lack of faith, hope and light.

Consider this your final notice.