Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Tuesday-- No Drunk Dogs

There's something about having these prohibitions together than really, really bothers me.

It's Twofer Tuesday again and that means I get to tell you all about this sign. My two sentences that I read are rendered above:

"Liquor and Nudity are Prohibited."

"Dogs are Prohibited Beyond this Point."

Now that we've established there's no getting the dog all likkered up at this British Columbia hot springs we can move on.

From my "A Fly on the Wall":

No picture. In fact, nothing at all. It’s blank.” Mrs. Ingetuckle looked puzzled.
“This happened once before to me. I got so excited. Thought I’d been rendered invisible.”
“We could ignore you and pretend you’re invisible if it’ll make you happy,” Mrs. Phlebos offered. “We love you that much.”

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

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Moose Edition

A cow moose and her calf.

We took off for a quick weekend getaway on Saturday. We drove down the Icefields Parkway then went south through Banff National Park to Kootenay National Park and beyond.
It was a lovely drive and very relaxing. We soaked in the healing waters of Radium Hot Springs and spent a quiet night at a motel in Skookumchuk, BC.
The place has a lovely feel to it and who can resist that name?
If you're curious, Skookumchuk is a Chinook word that means strong or turbulent current.
It was good to get away for a mini-vacation and to see something different. Change is good.
But more than anything else I am grateful to the mother and baby moose for showing themselves. I've passed by this muskeggy lake many dozens of times. I've always said it needed a moose. On Saturday I got two of them.

ETA: I originally left out the first "k" in my first reference to Skookumchuk. Sorry for any confusion.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Faery Silhouette

Fog and rising sun bring out the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Usually this is a normal hawthorn tree with leaves and branches. Against the early morning sun we see the other side of it, the magic side.
See the branch in the centre toward the bottom? There's a faery with an arm raised and a leaf held high.
Tell me, what else do you see?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blooming Buckbean


This is one of my favourite plants. It grows in wetlands and looks so very happy. I found this buckbean along a boardwalk at Twin Lakes. The boardwalk goes out over a wet area to some raised ground. This outcropping has some benches and trees and on the side opposite the boardwalk there's a floating dock.
It's a fine spot to visit on a warm day. It has pleasant energy, it's a good thinking spot, and if nothing else one can sit and watch the fish jump.
In a good year there are frogs in the wetland, many more plants, and water that comes up over the boardwalk to tease your feet as you walk. Not this year.
I hardly saw any buckbean and even less of the other plants. But there were some and I spent a wonderful half-hour or so sitting near the trees getting my head clear and refreshed for writing. It's a good way to spend the time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twofer Tuesday -- The Bloom is on the Rose

A rose in bloom. It's Alberta's provincial flower. The photo is completely unrelated to the post. I just think it's pretty.

It’s Twofer Tuesday time. I have done some writing, but not much reading.
We’ve been devoting our time to getting through the complete Firefly collection on DVD. It has crisp, wonderful writing and sharp, witty characters. I consider it a writing class.

Here’s something I read:

“ 'Why’n’t Eddie bake a cake?' he suggested. 'Eddie used to be a fry cook at the San Carlos for a while.'
The instant enthusiasm for the idea drove from Eddie’s brain the admission that he had never baked a cake. "
-John Steinbeck, Cannery Row, Bantam Books, 1971 (originally The Viking Press, Inc. 1945)

Here’s what I wrote in A Fly on the Wall:

The mirror had the occasional flash of independent thought. It wasn’t sure what to do with it.

For more, or to get in on the action, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Rain is Good Edition

Raindrops accentuate the leaves of a blooming hawthorn tree in the early morning.

It finally rained. We had some on Friday night/Saturday morning. It perked up the leaves and grass and made everything smell fresh and clean. It was a start.
The rain, liquid hope from the sky, returned Saturday night and kept up for much of Sunday.
It was a reasonable soaker. We desperately need it.
Several counties and municipal districts have declared agricultural disaster due to drought. Any area which has benefited by this rain now has some hope.
I am grateful for the rain.

Today is the new moon and you know what that means.
Whip out your chequebook and write yourself an abundance cheque.
The new moon is at 1:35 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Cheques can be written from that moment forward all the way until Tuesday, June 23 at 1:35 p.m. MDT.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Fuzzies Edition

Baby Rockhopper Penguins of the Falkland Islands

We were fortunate to see many varieties of penguin during our South American cruise. The timing was such that the babies were out and about, but still fuzzy.

Athough many were rapidly losing the fluff in favor of adult feathers, these were still in full fuzzhood.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deadly Differences

This is a Death Camas. Do not eat it.

Wild onion or garlic. These you can eat. I apologize for not knowing which one it is. I did not sniff or taste it.

Onions grow wild here, so do chives, and so does garlic. I've had wild garlic on some escargot done on a campfire. It set them off nicely.

Death Camas and White Camas also grow here and they look eerily like the garlic and onions. It's easy to get confused and throw a few in the stew.
I would not take a chance on harvesting any of them myself. I let my botanist husband do it.
If he says they're edible, then we eat them.
The most efficient way to tell the difference is to rub a bit of the leaf and sniff it. White and Death Camas do not have the distinctive onion or garlic odor.
If you're not sure or you nose isn't working, then go ahead and assume it is a killer and discard it.
In a related matter, there's an unrelated plant called Blue Camas that grows here and is edible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Elephants and Butter

Elephants Head


We went for a drive on Sunday and took a walk along the North Saskatchewan River at the Saunders Provincial Recreation Area. Many plants were in bloom and still others had blooms still pending.

I took a few pictures including the above butterwort and an elephants head nearby.

It made for a pleasant way to spend some time, and it's always good to see nature in full color riot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twosday Reading and Writing

It’s twofer on Tuesday again. It means I get to share with you what reading I’ve lost myself in lately.
And I get to throw out two or so of my sentences that sprang from my mind and out my fingers. This makes me happy.

Here’s something I read:

“During the millenia that frogs and men have lived in the same world, it is probable that men have hunted frogs. And during that time a pattern of hunt and parry has developed.”

-John Steinbeck, Cannery Row, Bantam Books, 1971 (originally published by The Viking Press, Inc. 1945)

Here’s what I wrote in A Fly on the Wall:

“Mrs. Ingetuckle, I think he ought to have a bit of capsaicin with it to boost his circulation.”
In a few minutes, fortified with hot pepper and chocolate, Brelyan began to make sense.

For more, or to get in on the action, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Still Standing

It stands forgotten, but it still stands.

Sometimes the only thing that matters is that we're still standing. No matter what we've done, or think we've done, as long as we're here we can make up for it, live it down, or shrug our shoulders, smile, and say to hell with you.

All that matters is we've got the time to learn, to grow, or do nothing at all if that's our choice.
It's another day with nothing in it yet to do with as we please.
What say we make the best of it?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday - At the Dance

The forest of Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina. I believe I caught the trees dancing.

The magnificent forest of Tierra del Fuego is one of my favourite spots on Earth. It is relatively undisturbed as it is a national park.
I would love to wander there and spend time in the forest. Yes, I'd talk to the trees, and I have an honest belief that if I could take the time I would hear their response.
Perhaps they might ask me to join their dance.
I would.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Wapiti and the Sandwich

This is an elk. It probably doesn't want a sandwich.

We took a drive the other day from Rocky south to Banff and then up the Jasper-Banff Parkway to Highway 11 and home. It was a long day, but a good one.
We hardly saw any wildlife. In fact this elk was the only big wild critter we saw. He browsed along the side of the highway and let himself be photographed. Elk are good that way.

It reminded me of the time my mom and sister and I went out to BC with an aunt and uncle. It was Easter and snowy and gray. Somewhere along the highway between Banff and the BC border we stopped to view some elk by the side of the road.
This was more than 40 years ago, before anyone heard about not feeding the wildlife, so we did. They came right up to the van window and poked their noses in.
Whether it was my idea or someone suggested it I've long forgotten, but I offered it a salmon sandwich. It was not a hit. I'll spare you the description.
If I recall correctly they liked the beans.

Today I shudder to think how we regarded wildlife in those days. The last thing we need to do is get them used to humans. It leads to all kinds of trouble on both sides.
Fortunately we've learned and most people are sensible enough to obey the law and let the wildlife fend for themselves.

For as wrong as it was, I can't say I regret it. It's another life experience and because of it I can say without hesitation that elk don't eat salmon sandwiches.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Trip Back in Time

A lake along a loop drive in Banff. I was going to write something metaphorical, but it's too much work.

I had a reasonably misspent youth, and I mean that in the good way. Reporters, we heard in J school, are supposed to have life experiences. I can’t remember the exact reason given though it is moderately obvious. The more you experience, the more you know, and the more you will question. You’re less gullible if you’ve been around a bit.

You never know when an experience from the past will work its way to the surface and be exactly what is needed.

My current WIP is about a mirror. This lets me write short bits in the lives of many characters. It’s fun and I get to use fragments of life from overheard conversations to stuff that really happened.

For example, back in the Pleistocene epoch my best friend and I stumbled into her house at 4 a.m. stoned out of our gourds. Our tummies cried for attention. We sacrificed dill pickle potato chips to the munchies gods and giggled in terror that the crunching echoing in our ears would waken her dad.

I’m tickled silly that I can now call this moment research.
I suspect as the writing continues so will the mining of the past as well as whatever I can scavenge from the world around me.
Everything has a purpose; it is just a matter of discovering what that purpose is.

What about you? Has that thing you did all those years ago proved to be something you need now? Or as you still waiting to see the good side of it?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Twofer Tuesday and a Photo

A pair of red-winged blackbirds decorate the edge of a lake.

Another wonderful week of getting some reading done and even a bit of writing. It’s not as much writing as I’d thought, but in the great scope of the world that hardly matters.
I read this:

“The faintness of the voice was pitiable and dreadful. It was not the faintness of physical weakness, though confinement and hard fare no doubt had their part in it.”
-A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens. (Dent: London Everyman’s Library, Dutton: New York, reprinted 1964)

My efforts over the past few days put toward A Fly on the Wall:

“A nice mirror, my love. For the bedroom?”
Mora stared at him. “You want a mirror like this in the bedroom? Are you reading those magazines again, Sid?”

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

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gratitude Monday – Still Laughing

Laughter is one of life’s pleasures. It’s important to overall good health. I’d back that up, but that involves something called “research” and I am more than lazy.
I love to laugh and I am grateful that I can. I think it is what keeps us sane and it can defuse a nasty situation.
It’s also a pleasant way to spend time. What would you rather do, laugh or fume?

This brings me to my point: Fawlty Towers. We bought the complete set the other day and have watched two of the 12 episodes.
Even though I have seen them several times over I still laugh. I know what’s coming and I smile in anticipation. I laugh as hard or harder now than I did when I first saw them back in the mid-70s.
The shows are familiar enough just hearing “You naughty, naughty moose”(ep. The Germans) or “Brahms Third Racket” (ep. A Touch of Class) sets me off.

So, thank you John Cleese and Connie Booth for writing one of the smartest, funniest, and most enduring shows ever.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Photo Finish Friday - Earth and Sky Edition

A magnificent Bald Eagle soars above a field looking for food

while a Sandhill Crane stays close to the ground on a warm spring day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Bird in the Hand

A too-stuffed pine siskin.

Mike and the siskin strike a pose.

The pine siskins love us and need to be with us. They love us so much they eat everything we put out for them. This makes them full and dopey and easy prey for any prowling puss.

This little fellow was too full to fly so my husband picked him up and minded him for a bit until he could muster the gumption to take wing.

Soon the young 'uns will be out and eating and they are much too trusting. We'll be doing a fair bit of bird-minding before the summer's out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two Sentences or So on Tuesday

I spent most of last week reading. It felt good to laze in the sun with a book for company, and the neighbour’s pussycats were always ready to lend a paw during the hard parts.
Among the treasures I had the pleasure of getting to know was the one quoted below.
I love Edgar Rice Burroughs. From Tarzan to John Carter and everything in between he spun a good yarn and kept his protagonist in mortal peril until the very end.

Two sentences I read:

“The water was warm and had an unpleasant taste. The best that might be said of it was that it was wet.”

-The Land of Hidden Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ace Books, 1978 (copyright 1931, McCall Company, Renewed 1959) Original title: Jungle Girl.

I spent more time reading than writing, but still managed a bit. Here’s a little something from A Fly on the Wall:

“Won’t know ‘til we give it ago.”
“Uh oh.” Dottie Phelbos always worried when Mrs. Ingetuckle inadvertently rhymed. It was never good.

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

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Song of the Season

The best part of spring is the sound.
The sights are great, don't get me wrong, and the temperature and the warming to life of the earth are wonderful.
But the warm breezes, the frog chorus, soft rain or pounding storm, and the bird songs make the season.
For several years now we've been visited on by a pair of wrens. They nest in the bird box on the back porch, and in the bird condo out front, and probably in a few other spots which will remain a mystery to us. It is the habit of the wren to build a few false nest to throw off predators. As such they work all day every day gathering sticks and twigs and bits of whatever for their many nests. And as they work they sing. The sit on the fence or the deck railing or the clothes tree and lift their voices, and my spirits, in song.
Thank you, wren.