Thursday, December 31, 2009

Photo Finish Friday --Journey to 2010

One year ends, another begins. It's all part of the journey and each year we get to start it anew.
We set out from one shore with the optimistic assumption that we'll set down on the other shore relatively intact.
What we don't know is how the trip will go. Clear sailing? Windy with roiling, frothy waves? Probably a bit of both with a few other surprises thrown in. On the whole, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy 2010 everyone. Enjoy your journey.

The photo is of the ferry crossing at Arrow Lakes, B.C., from Shelter Bay to Galena Bay.

I posted this early because I felt like it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gratitude Monday --Time to Reflect

This is a quiet week, perhaps the quietest of the year, and for that I am grateful.
Nothing much happens in my local world during the last week of the year and that's fine with me.
Back in my reporting days it was almost too quiet. We still had a newspaper to fill though reviewing the year went a long way.
The down side of fresh news is the kind of thing that it might be. No one wants that at any time, least of all during the festive season.
I tend to find this slow time a good time to reflect on what has happened, to think about the possibilities in the future, and to remind myself that my life is good even during those moments when I am convinced otherwise.
Reflection is good. It reminds me of where I've been, what I've done, and what I can do about it if I so choose.
I am glad for the time to think no matter what it brings.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

It's that time of the year again.

For some of us it'll be a standoff.

Leading to a clear winner.

While others are more flexible and simply take the times as they come.

Whichever you choose, I wish you well.

Happy Holidays.
Season's Greetings.
Merry Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gratitude Monday -- Bunny Solstice Edition

Where to begin?
I'm still buzzing over finding out my heart's pumping properly. The world is an even better place now.

It's Christmas season, which means baking. It's cold, which means baking. And my husband's work has slowed down, which means he's the one doing the baking.
He's made cake, cookies, lebkuchen (honey cakes) and the above- pictured lemon meringue pie. All are made from scratch and yes, he stood at the stove stirring the cornstarch mix for the body of the pie, and he sifted the flour for the crust. When I say scratch, I mean it.
He had a dollop of meringue left over so he put it on the top for a bunny's tail and then carved a bunny in the meringue. It was tasty.

Today is the Solstice. It's the shortest day of the year and winter is upon us. This is good, because we can't get shed of winter until it starts and now, with the solstice, we are looking toward the light.
Happy Solstice everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Better Days

The home has seen better days, but it's still standing and there are treasures to find on the floor still.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snowbundance - Write that Cheque

Abundance comes in many forms. Currently, we have an abundance of snow.

It’s that time again. Fire up your chequebooks and make out an abundance cheque to yourself.
The new moon is at 5:02 MST. Once you sort out what time that is in your zone you have 24 hours from that moment to get the cheque done.
Ignore the date box.
Make it out to yourself.
Write “Paid in Full” in the amount areas.
Sign it “The Law of Abundance.”
Now put it away and forget about it.
Now if you get distracted and it’s past the 24 hour line, don’t despair. Write it anyway and get back on track next month.
Happy Abundance.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twofer Tuesday – The Second Time is Great

Many long years ago I read The Great Gatsby. It bored me. I could not imagine what all the fuss was about. What was the point?
I could go on, but I think you’ve realized the problem: me.
Of course I didn’t get it. I was stupid and young and had no context. Books like this require someone to have had a life in order to appreciate them.
I had a rescue copy from a sale decorating my TBR pile and a vague notion that I’d get to it again someday. Then I read Lillian Hellman’s memoir and it gets mentioned several times. I don’t recall the words used, but I think at one point Hellman or someone in her circle told F. Scott Fitzgerald it was brilliant and/or his best work.
Obviously, I’d missed the point when I read it in my teens. I can tell you now, on second reading, that I get it. I’m glad I gave it a second go.

Here’s a sample. I’ve sneaked an extra sentence to round out the paragraph.

“Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the sound. All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains, men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York. It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air.”
-The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Collier Books, MacMillan Publishing Co. Copyright 1925, Charles Scribner’s Sons.)
I’m still tapping away at Biting The Dust’s obvious errors.
Here’s a sample featuring one of the God-fearing folk in Saintree:

"Roy Hansom went to church to atone for his sins of the week and if he didn’t have sufficient ones, then he’d go to town early to make some. Roy loved the Lord and it was important to him to beg for forgiveness and absolution."
For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.
And thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

It's the Bag Lady's birthday whether she likes it or not.
How about we slip over to her place and make a fuss?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gratitude Monday - The Roof Over My Head

This is my house in summer.

We have snow. More than we need. It is cold. Very cold. The forecast was for -38C overnight.
I have a place to live. I have a roof over my head and a furnace that works and a nice, warm husband.
Not everyone is as fortunate as me to be sheltered when the weather gets nasty.
I have a home. I am grateful.
Edited to add:
We made it uncomfortably close to -40C. That's the same as being uncomfortably close to 40 below F.
Edited to add again:
We did it. -40C .

Friday, December 11, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday --Summer in Kananaskis


A beautiful summer's day in Alberta.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

As of today I get to stop taking rat poison.
I was surprised--pleasantly so and then some-- to learn this morning that according to the assorted tests my heart is pumping normally and the speed is well within normal range.
I'll be on other meds to maintain this and will likely stay on them. Y'know what? So what!
My heart is working and that's what matters.
I can eat more cauliflower and broccoli and can have some sauerkraut. I can start taking ginkgo biloba again. I can have all the green tea and pistachios I want so bring on the baklava.
A few months ago my cardiologist said I needed another ablation. It would appear that has changed.
I intend to celebrate. I'm not sure how, but there'll be garlic involved, lots and lots of garlic as I had to restrict the intake of that, too.
Okay, I am stupideasy to please, I know. But this is good news and I am tickled silly.
In place of the Warfarin I will take a low dose Aspirin (R) every day.
Life is good.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Twofer Tuesday - I’m Afraid I’ve Been Working

I am still reading. I’m so glad. I must confess to a bit of a worry after my reading bug returned. I was afraid it would go again and leave me alone.
It’s still here, it’s still working, and I am enjoying it more than ever.
Along with reading, I’ve knuckled down to, sort of, editing Biting The Dust. I’m doing my best to just fix the obvious errors this round. I still find myself sneaking in a bit of rewriting here and there. I’m fighting the urge to pull on the boots and get after it properly.
They're for after the hard copy reading, I remind me.

These boots were made for writing.

And speaking of being afraid, I segued brilliantly, guess what I’m reading?
Yup, Afraid, by Jack Kilborn. I won this several months back from the wonderful Women of Mystery. It’s been in the TBR pile since about July.
It’s a gripping story, good pacing, and not as gross as I’d feared. Most enjoyable.

Here’s a bit:

“Josh followed Sal’s stare with the flashlight.
It came to rest on the huge man standing next to the window, quietly slow dancing with the naked, mutilated corpse of Maggie Morton.”
- Afraid, Jack Kilborn, Grand Central Publishing, 2009.
From my efforts this week here are two freshly edited sentences from Chapter Two of Biting The Dust.

“Show yourself. I refuse to talk to the disembodied.” Eury’s voice came from her abdomen.
“That might not serve you well someday.”
For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.
And thank you for stopping by.

I appreciate it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Front Doors are Good

We had snow and blowing snow the other day. This is what happened when the snow blew around and settled on the back porch.

Drifts built up.

We could not open the back door Saturday morning. Snow had piled up so high we were trapped.
Fortunately, we have a front door. Hardly any snow was left on the front step. It opened easily and for that I am grateful.
Mike went out and shovelled the snow and took these pictures. I hope you enjoyed them. Please click to enlarge. If you dare.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Still Life

We're slowing down with the cold. Even if we're iced up or snowed in there's still life inside us.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Verify Everything, Even Comments

Verify every adventure. It keeps us safe. Pic is of Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park.

Ah, what a day.
Tiger's transgressions have taken over the news including above the fold on the Edmonton Journal's front and most of page A3, our neighbouring province to the east is looking at banning smoking in vehicles with kids in them, and I've had to turn on word verification.

I do not care about Mr. Woods and his alleged messing around. It is not news.
Saskatchewan can do what it wants, but bans of this nature go too far. As long as smoking is a legal activity one should pursue it in or on one's own property unmolested by government.

As for verification, well, I've had it. Tuesday's post has a good long comment from Anonymous all about making money. Why, Anon even thoughtfully added an address for me to click to in order to read more.
I've suggested a popular vacation hotspot for Anonymous.

I am sorry to have to use the fill in box, but such is the nature of the big world.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Time – Editing Mode

I’ve been a good little writer and kept myself busy with editing and reading last week.
I finished the first edit of The Legend of Shallal on Sunday and it put me at loose ends. I was still in editing mode and wasn’t quite sure what to do beyond wandering around the house bumping into the furniture and apologizing.
That wears thin after a time.
Since I still had my personal editing setting activated I decided to open up the vampire western and do something about the obvious typos. My head’s not really in it, but it keeps me from going back to Shallal.
The weather’s turned suitably nasty, though, so that’s a big help.
It’s good for reading, too. I’ve finally cracked open some Terry Pratchett and am nearly done his first Discworld novel. It’s been out since 1983. Not sure why I haven’t visited Discworld until now, but at least I’ve made it there. It takes me a while, I guess.

From The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett, Corgi Books ( copyright 1983)

“ ‘Yar. Well, I’m not sure about it myself, really. It’s a sort of bet, see?’ said the innkeeper nervously. ‘In-sewer-ants, it’s called. It’s like a bet that the Broken Drum won’t get burned down.’”

From The Legend of Shallal here are a few extra lines in the interest of context.

“In the north the Thuliacs high, cracking voices hit a midtone and kept it until their lungs strained. They raised hands and swept them over one another and took another breath of the close air in the tunnel. The tone they loosed was high enough that they had to monitor one another to ensure they were really making a sound.
Beside them at their feet their wolf guard stood at tight-jawed attention. His ears hurt. His mind screamed. His lupine sensibilities were frozen as he did all he could not to howl.”
For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.
And thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

Sidenote: this is my 666th post.
Not sure what to do to observe it, but it must be celebrated.
Maybe this?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gratitude Monday -- Still Here

Hiking in Kananaskis Country in August. Photo by Mike Mayrl.

Still here.

Still hiking.

Still grateful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I’m Over the Top!

My dear friend and fellow writer Thomma Lyn at Tennessee Text Wrestling gave me the Over The Top award.
I am beside myself over it.
However, there’s a catch. Questions. And they need answers. Okay, I have the option of not answering, but this is way more fun ‘cuz I only get one word each.
Here goes:

1. Where is your mobile phone? unbought
2. Your hair? short
3. Your mother? yes
4. Your father? same
5. Your favorite food? bacon
6. Your dream last night? freaky
7. Your favorite drink? water
8. Your dream/goal? published
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? reading
11. Your fear? clowns
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? famous
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren’t? talkative
15. Muffins? sure!
16. Wish list item? heartbeat
17. Where did you grow up? Alberta
18. Last thing you did? ate
19. What are you wearing? sicko
20. Your TV? old
21. Your Pets? none
22. Friends? loved
23. Your life? fun
24. Your mood? weird
25. Missing Someone? no
26. Vehicle? Corolla
27. Something you’re not wearing? boots
28. Your favorite store? grocery
29. Your favorite colour? blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? earlier
31. Last time you cried? dunno
32. One place that I go to over and over? mountains
33. Facebook? fun
34. Favorite place to eat? camping

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twofer Twosday With Extras

It’s that time of the week again. I get to tell you what I’m reading and have to prove that I’ve been working on a manuscript.
I’ve managed to get through a few books lately and last week finally got to the one that brings me to this week’s selection. I’ve had the book for a few years after rescuing it from a garage sale. I’d been meaning to read it since I found it. In fact, I’ve wanted to read it for several decades. Now I have, and the TBR pile is getting smaller.

From Black Beauty, The Autobiography of a Horse, by Anna Sewell (Masterpiece Library, Magnum Books, 1968):

“When he was gone my driver began to flop the reins about and whip the harness, by which I understood that I was to go on, which of course I did, glad that the stone was gone, but still in a good deal of pain.
That was the sort of experience we job horses often come in for.”

I’m plugging away on the second draft of my first manuscript and realize there’s a long road ahead for it. I’ve thrown in a bit extra for the sake of giving readers a better idea of what I’m on about.

From The Legend of Shallal:

“The Sleepweavers have been at them and they’re prepared. I’ll meet them at their game field and lead them to the tunnels. There’s a young one, Nurl, that the Sleepweavers have given some extra attention. I think he’ll be the main toner.”
“How old is he?”
For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.
And thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Birthday Porn

My 51st birthday was yesterday ( Nov.22) and for it my husband baked me
a cake. Here he is prepping the cake pans for a carrot layer cake.

He devoted most of his Saturday to it. We grew the carrots, the flour is organic, the eggs are from his dad. It's healthier than most commercial health food.

Here he spreads the cream cheese icing for the inbetween section.

The icing on the cake.

Adding the ground pecans for the finishing touch.

The finished product.

Very, very yummy.

Yes, I am grateful.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Chile

It looked cold and foreboding and absolutely beautiful.

The second link takes you to the first time I posted a picture of it. I thought it deserved another view.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Olympic Seig Heil Moment

I presume I have your attention.
The Olympic Torch is making its way across Canada and will soon burn at the 2010 Winter Olympics in B.C.
It's a wonderful thing and I'm happy about it. We last had the Winter Olympics in 1988 in Calgary and that fair city still trades on it.
Good for it.
I was working at the Alaska Highway Daily News in Fort St. John, B.C. back then and the torch came through. It was run around a local arena to a thundering crowd and it was my duty to take crowd reaction pictures. It was fun.
Back then I didn't know any better and thought the torch run was a legitimate hearkening back to the Olympics' ancient origins.
It hearkens all the way back to the 1936 Olympics. It was the brainchild of Carl Deim and was meant illuminate the glory of the Fatherland.
All this aside I like the Torch Run. As a nation it has whipped us in a frenzy-- as much as a Canadian can be in one-- and has us all excited about the upcoming games.
But I still think we ought to know what we're doing as we cheer the flame on and I am not above the occasional sardonic Seig Heil whenever its on the news.
Then again, it may be better if we forget that part and simply enjoy it for what it is.
What say you?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Twofer Tuesday - A Wilde Time

North end of Upper Arrow Lakes, B.C.

I'm catching up on all the reading I missed out on during my recent non-reading spell. Most of the rust is flaking off my inner reading machinery and I'm finding I'm getting through books faster than I have in quite some time. I don't know that I'll get back to my heyday of 400-500 words a minute, but I'm happy with whatever speed I can muster and still enjoy the beauty of the words as they are collected together to form the story.
I loved the feeling this passage spoken by Lord Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, ( Penguin Classics 2009) evoked:
"Play me a nocturne, Dorian, and, as you play, tell me, in a low voice, how you have kept your youth. You must have some secret."
And here's my contribution to the cause from The Legend of Shallal:

"He needed a time of rest, a way to be off the planet for at least a season. He ached to bathe in the icy waters of his homeworld and drift along its jagged shores under a waxing double moon."

Thanks for reading me.

For more or to get in on the fun please check in with the Women of Mystery.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Mundane is Good

I'm grateful for a great deal of things. This makes it difficult to narrow it down. It's always good to be grateful for the stuff we take for granted like the air we breathe, living indoors, and having food. Some people are stuck with terribly polluted air, are homeless, or so poor they eat only rarely.
I have all the food I need and then some, the air here is pretty good, the house I co-own and live in is paid for, and the above scene is a less than two hours west of me and makes for a lovely drive.
I challenge each and every one of you to be grateful for something mundane today. You can keep it to yourself or put it in the comments. Either way, say thanks for something you usually ignore and see what happens.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Get Your Chequebook Ready

The new moon is on Monday. Here in Alberta it's at 12:14 p.m. so we have from then until 12:14 p.m. Tuesday to get our abundance cheques written and salted away.
Cheques are written on the new moon because that's when the moon begins growing toward being full, like in the above photograph.
Once the moon is full it wanes and any cheque written then would have the opposite effect.
Remember, don't put a date on the cheque, make it out to yourself, write "Paid in Full " in the areas devoted to amount, and sign it "The Law of Abundance."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something Weird is Happening

Kootenay Lake during one of the ferry crossings. The idea suited the post.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Now that I'm back reading I realized that the 50 or so books on my To Be Read pile were nowhere near enough. I had to go to a bookstore and I had to get story books. Novels. Stuff talented folk made up.
Most of the TBR pile is non-fiction and that's wonderful, but I want characters and dialogue and a plot or three.
My happy if perplexing problem was what interests me now? I stood amongst the shelves and wondered what do I like? Do I still like science fiction and fantasy?
Yes. I bought the first three books in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
What else?
Frankly, the choices were overwhelming. It's been so long since I hung around the fiction and literature section of the store I felt like a neophyte. Hell, call it what it is: I felt like a virgin.
I settled on The Shack by Wm. Paul Young to see what all the fuss is about, then Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and decided that was enough for my first trip back in years.
When I got home I rooted through my TBR pile to pick out the novels and found I had a hardcover collection of Wilde from a yard sale last spring. Sigh. That'll teach me to rescue books and then ignore them.
It's not just reading. I don't know what to eat now either. A few months back I decided to make a point of eating oatmeal for breakfast every day. I usually manage it 5-6 times a week. It keeps my blood sugar even so I rarely crave sweets now. That is good and not so surprising. What did surprise me was it cut down my need for salt. I hardly add any to food on my plate and I rarely want to eat any salty snacks.
I'd also decided to cut out excess fat just to see what would happen. So I gave up butter and found I actually like dry toast. It was only supposed to be an experiment and it was only supposed to be for a few weeks. That was back in August.
I no longer know what to read, and by my own hand I have no clue what to eat.
It's weird, and that's usually good so I'll presume this is good, too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Still Fuzzy

One of more than 20 different types of willow in the province.

We went for a drive yesterday. That alone is something to be grateful for as it was a nice late fall day and good for driving.
It was good to get out of the house, too, as I hadn't ventured around much locally in the past few months. It was good to see the farms, and the wetland such as they are these days, and to see the mountains rise against the edge of the forest again.
Along with a few cows and some small birds we saw a very large cat, probably a housecat gone wild, hunt for food, and we saw a coyote. It was a good day.
We also saw some pussy willows in full fuzz and I made sure to get pictures.
Stepping outside has many rewards and I am grateful for each of them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Penguins

A colony of Gentoo Penguins observes the tourists on the Falkland Islands.

Please click to enjoy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thank You

I am tickled silly.
Hilary has put me on her list as a runner up for Posts of the Week for my Gratitude Monday post.
It has added to my gratitude.
Thank you, Hilary.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twosday Twosomes

I’ve had a good week of reading and a reasonable week of writing.
I finished the western I offered up last week and then picked up a memoir that I am thoroughly enjoying.
Unfortunately, it’s one of those books that repeatedly reminds me I’ve got something that must be done before I settle in the pages for an hour or so. I read a bit as the little voice nags, then I attend to the pressing matter and then something else and then finally get the chance to settle in. I am pleased to say it is well worth the wait.
It’s Lillian Hellman’s An Unfinished Woman
(Little, Brown, 1969) and here’s a sample from her time in Russia toward the end of WWII.

“The Russian telephone operator and I had never liked each other.
(He listened in on all conversations, even in languages he said he didn’t understand, and sometimes made a point of coughing into the phone to let you know he was there.)”
I’m still plugging away at editing The Legend of Shallal. I added some original material last week to pad out a section that desperately needed it and tarted up some tired old prose.
Here’s a sample describing a scene outside of Shallal’s home.

“The dendros were gnarled and twisted and many had top trunks so heavy they’d doubled down to the ground and were taking root. New shoots sprouted from the rooting tops and dripped sap through fresh bud pockets.”

For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gratitude Monday -- Zip a Dee - Yay!

A frozen waterfall in B.C. This is how my intellectual curiosity was for a time.

My intellect seems to have recovered enough that not only am I reading --yay!--I'm thinking better and my interests are being piqued once more.
They were always varied though they got set on the back burner the last few years. I was still interested in things, but not in the way I had been before.
Such curiosity has come back. It's not with a vengeance yet, though I can feel one building.

Here's what happened: I have a pair of comfortable brown pants that I like, but whose zipper refused to stay done up. A short while ago I got the idea that pliers applied properly would take care of it. It had just worked on a pair of green pants and I decided to try my luck once more.
It almost worked. It would stay up for a time then blithely slide to the bottom and smile as it stuck it impudent tongue out at me.

I shattered the last bits of ice off my intellectual curiosity yesterday when I realized I really wanted to know zippers worked.
How Stuff Works is a great site and there I learned what I needed. Best of all a link took me to how to repair zippers.
One uses pliers to coax the wedges in the zipper closer to get them to hook the teeth together properly.
I had the right notion, but the wrong execution.
I was thrilled, jazzed, elated, gratified, and a whole bunch of other words when I read it. Plus I was fascinated just reading it.



Many things are simple. It in no way lessens their worth.

My zipper stays up now and I am grateful. I can see in my mind what a zipper does when it brings teeth together or sends them apart. This may not interest many, but it does me. I'm grateful for that because it means my curiousity is up, too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- The Rhea-l Thing

Rheas on an estancia in Uruguay. Photo by Mike Mayrl.

These are rheas at the ranch in Uruguay where we ate barbecue-- beef with beef appetizers-- drank good beer and some OMG wine that I will search to the ends of the Earth to have again, and saw a guacho show.
I gave Mike my camera while I went horseback riding and left him to his own devices. He took several pics of the rheas. This is one of my favourites.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Gentle Reminder...

...of the beauty in the world.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Twofers – More Reading Than Writing

A scene west of town bordering the North Saskatchewan River. Not much to do with today's post other than the book I'm reading has mountains in it.

Writing has taken a bit of a hit since I started reading again. I’d like to think it’s only because we are limited to 24 hours in the day (stupid rotation cycle) and some of those hours need to be spent eating and sleeping. The real story, I suspect, is that I’ve got so much reading to catch up on that I must set aside the writing for a bit. I know better than to stop it all together. No writing makes weird things happen to me. And not the good, fun weird either.
So I’ve been careful to open up the occasional file and do a bit of work. It certainly doesn’t help that I’m editing instead exploding with raw creation. But writing is writing and at least I’ve got a hand in it still.
I was working on a section that was not working so I sent a bit to the remnants file and did a bit of raw creation. It was fun, but still not right. I finally had to admit the section I loved had no business being in the story. The whole chapter got sent to remnants. It’s not a total loss, though. I’ll be able to work bits in later.
Since then I’ve been honing my cut and paste skills on the manuscript. Once the dust settles and the bleeding stops I’ll be able to assess what I’ve done.
Until then, I’ll find every reason, excuse, and spare second of time to read.

On Sunday I picked up a Zane Grey that I’d started in July. I am sure I wrote about it earlier. The bad guy is “Dick Hardman” and Grey uses “ejaculate” in his dialogue tags. A lot. It’s hard not being 12 when I read it.

From Valley of Wild Horses, Zane Grey, (Pocket Books, 1973) where hero Panhandle Smith has just found his family and his true love, Lucy, who is forcibly engaged to his sworn enemy.

“ ‘Panhandle Smith!’ she whispered, gazing up into his face ‘I heard your story. It thrilled me. . . . But I never understood—till you faced Dick Hardman. . . . Oh, what have you done for me?... Oh, Pan, you have saved me from ruin.’ ”

I have done some work on The Legend of Shallal. I’m hoping now that the days are colder and greyer I’ll get even more done on it.
Here’s something from the past week:

“I haven’t been male in so long I wondered if I still knew how to use the body.” Shallal grinned. “You made me think the other day. I thought I ought to take it out and dust if off. In case I need it again.”

For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.
And thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gratitude Monday – The Reading Tower

I started reading again last week and I’m stupidexcited about it.
I’m reading books again. Holding novels in my hand, turning pages, losing myself in their worlds. I can’t understand what happened the last few years. I’d read something here and there, but mostly I'd start, set the book down, and ignore it.
That’s a cruel, wrong thing to do.
I used to read fast and had a book or three going all the time. A few years ago something happened. Perhaps it was the heart problem -–I’ll blame as much as possible on it, just you wait—mayhap it was some Guidance to take a break, maybe I got too lazy to read. The last one takes some doing. If that’s what happened, then I probably deserve official recognition for it.
I wondered on occasion what was happening. Then I’d get distracted.
I am pleased, happy, and grateful to say whatever had come over me is gone. It left one day last week and since then I haven’t been able to get enough reading. It’s all I want to do.
I’d started A Tale of Two Cities in July, got to page 82 and set it down. It was the first one I picked up and I finished it yesterday.
Shortly after I finished it I picked up Zane Grey’s Valley of Wild Horses. I’d gotten to page 18 back in the summer.
I’ve got close to five dozen books on the To Be Read tower. I am so grateful to be demolishing that tower.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday - Ferry Across The Athabasca

The Klondike Ferry across the Athabasca River east of Fort Assiniboine.

I've crossed the river by ferry here many times. It is one of my fondest memories of growing up. Ferry rides were free in daylight, but I am sure there was a sign that said night crossings were 50 cents.
My dad knew the ferryman well enough to go fishing at the Vega Ferry. It was called that as after you crossed the river you were in the district of Vega. I recall once he borrowed the boat attached to it, though it's been so long most of the details are lost to time. I know we didn't stay out too long as the Athabasca was teeming with whitefish in those days. Catching the limit took only a few minutes.
They are, or at least were, a tasty fish. Dad took care of frying them as mom always said she couldn't cook fish. I never knew if she meant she couldn't do it the way dad liked it, or she simply had sense enough to see a break from cooking and took it.
It didn't matter. Dad caught them, cleaned them, and fried them, and we ate well.

A closer look at the ferry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Satan's Health Emporium

Let me be clear: I love this place.

Ainsworth, B.C. is perched along the shores of Kootenay Lake, deep in the heart of B.C. So deep that if you saw a map to it you'd swear you can't get there from here.
It is, however, well worth the trip. There are caves.
The hot springs main pool is a very pleasant temperature, 35C if memory serves, and there's a small cold pool, 30C, for plunging. Best of all there's an outside pool that you enter to go into the caves.
I'm claustrophobic. I'm glad to report it was not an issue.
From this smaller outdoor pool bathers have a choice of two tunnels to enter that form a horseshoe about 20 or so feet later. The tunnels are maybe six feet high and about four feet across with water that came up to mid-thigh on me. For the record, I'm a few hair wisps under 5'4."
At the horsehoe the tunnels widen by several feet plus there are a few open alcoves to rest in. Muted amber lights are mounted in the cave walls and unless you are in the horsehoe or an alcove you can see out either tunnel.
This is good for the claustrophobes. I only had a minor problem with it the first time through as I didn't know it was a simple bend and the hot water, 40C, plus the minerals in it were making my chest feel heavy. Not so great when one has asthma and an irregular heart beat. I kept going and refused to panic. It paid off.
It's recommended to spend only about 15 minutes at a time in the caves and that's about all I could handle. The weather was cool with a biting wind so the heat was welcome, but I wished I could have stayed in the pool just outside the cave entrance longer. Same hot water as the cave, but good fresh air. Too many people had the same idea.
I'd go back in a heartbeat. It's a wonderful hot springs and the view of Kootenay Lake and the mountains is magnificent.
Between the hot water and the fragrance of its minerals I couldn't help but think that if Satan opened a health spa, then this place would be it.
This what you see when you take the waters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twofer Tuesday – Stringing a Few Words Together

I’ve been doing my best to get the editing done on my first manuscript. I’ve found I prefer raw creation to trying to fix up writing that may not amount to anything later on. It’s good exercise, though. Best way to learn is to do.
Somewhere between blogging, getting the usual daily life matters under control, going away for an extended weekend to BC and recovering from same, and occasionally opening up a file to edit, I’ve picked up the guitar again.
It feels good. I’m not very good at it as I inherited my musical talent from a relative who had none to spare, but I’m enjoying it.
I had the sense to spend the money and get a good one, a Larrivee, with a wonderful, soothing sound. This helps considerably when I do something . . . unmusical.
It had been so long since I’d held it in my arms I’d forgotten which key tuned G and which tuned high E. I was madly turning the nut and nothing was happening. Eventually I caught on and got it done properly.
Not only is it soothing, it helps me write. I can think better as I strum or pick and the effects last.
This brings me to something I read this week. The very first song I learned to play was Down in the Valley and I played it again recently.
Here are a few lines from it:

“Writing this letter, containing three lines, answer my question, will you be mine?
Will you be mine, dear, will you be mine? Answer my question, will you be mine?”

The songbook doesn’t list any writer attached to it, but I found this.

As for me, well, I’ve gotten a bit done here and there. Here’s something from The Legend of Shallal:

“Darahfenn brought his antenna around from the back of his head and stroked his recalcitrant face scale. He’d always hoped the gesture made him look thoughtful.”

For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.
And thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gratitude Monday - A Room and a View

Morning from the Kootenay Lakeview Lodge, Balfour, BC.

We took off to the neighbouring province, British Columbia, for the Thanksgiving weekend. We explored along Kootenay Lake and spent a wonderful hour in the hotsprings at Ainsworth. It's a small place and every room was booked for a fishing derby on the lake so we buzzed down the road about 20 minutes to Balfour. I'm so glad we did because the Lodge we stayed at was spotless, every room had a view of the lake, and there was a restaurant just down the hill.
We'd spent the first night of the trip in Kaslo in a sad motel/cabin affair. It was supposedly clean, and while it was no America's Best Shithole it had it's moment in the sun.
I had to complain to about the condition of it and was initially not believed. I dragged the poor woman into our bathroom and showed her the evidence. I give her this, she hardly shuddered at all. She promptly cleaned the offending areas. I'm grateful for that although the condition of the toilet was inexcusable.
Mike later opened a cabinet under the sink in the kitchenette and, as he put it, "disturbed some filth."
At the Kootenay Lakeview Lodge we were given the keys to two rooms to look at and then had to give them right back as the rooms weren't cleaned. The room we checked out hadn't been done either, but it was still leaps and bounds better than the abomination we'd slept in the night before.
We were given a clean room for the night with, as Mike put it, "A toilet you could drink out of." I'm grateful no one did that.
I'm glad for the chance to get away and see something different and to have so much to see so close to home.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday--Sooner or Later...

...everyone incorporates.

Have a wacky weekend.
Reminder: the new moon is tomorrow (Saturday) at 11:30 p.m. We have until Sunday at 11:30 p.m. to get our abundance cheques written.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gathering Nuts with Mayrl

We took a Thanksgiving weekend trip to southern BC. It was great to get away and see some new sights. Of all we saw and did this is one of the spots that made my husband, Mike Mayrl, the happiest.

We had to wait for the ferry across Upper Arrow Lakes for about a half-hour. A waiting area with picnic tables and benches was set up and it had been seeded to oak trees. Red oak trees, maybe even scarlet oaks.

To a man with degrees in forestry and botany such as my husband this is a little slice of heaven on Earth.
He collected about nine lb. of the fallen acorns, and a few curious onlookers.
Most wondered if he was going to roast them. No. They are for planting.

Here's a look up through the branches at one of the oaks.

And here's a red (or scarlet) oak in full colour.

It was a magnificent spot to wait, and one of the best times of year to do it.

Please click on the pics to get the full, glorious effect.