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.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Giving Thanks

Canadian Thanksgiving, outside.
It's Thanksgiving here. It reminds us to look upon our lives and be grateful.
We have a saying up here that if you're born in Canada, then you've already won the lottery.
Yeah, that's about right.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Autumn Moment

Autumn has its glorious moments.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Freaky or Dull?

When I was young I would think ahead and I would see me at certain ages. However, this sight stopped at age 42. I’d think of me at that age and a huge, thick curtain would fall in front of my mind’s eye. I never had the sense of anything sinister, but I did wonder what I was hiding from myself.
Turns out I, or maybe a Guide, had more sense than to show me I was doing exactly what I wanted then. I was a stay at home writer. I suspect this was kept from me so I’d go about learning what I needed from life and reporting in order to be a writer. If I’d known it was coming, then I may have focused on it instead of learning what I needed from life experience.
Then a few years ago I kept seeing myself in the hospital. In this sight I was in for nine days with a life-threatening condition from which I made a full recovery.
The big difference between that and reality was I spent 10 days in three different hospitals. Oh, and the recovery’s not full yet. That’ll happen.
Today I can’t see much of anything. There’s a whitish haze or cloud when I try to think ahead. Further, every time I try to meditate my mind wanders away or I fall asleep. No sinister feelings this time either.
My guess is something so wild, so freaky, and so exciting is in store for me that it’s better if I don’t know about it.
The other possibility is things are going to be really, really dull and my Guides don’t want to bore me.
Whatever it is I want a record of it here. And for said record I’m going with freaky and exciting. I hope I’m ready.

I’m curious? Has anything like this ever happened to you? Can you see yourself in five years? Ten? Fifty?
Ever have the view blocked?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It was a blustery day here yesterday. So much so that I fully expected Piglet to sail by at any moment.
Calm was needed. A nice, peaceful scene was the antidote. Here's a look along the Forestry Trunk Road.
Please click to enlarge it and take a moment to enjoy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Twosome

A coyote runs into the bush. Please click to enlarge.

What have I read this past week? Not very much. Newspapers mostly. Stuff on the web. The TV Times in the Edmonton Journal. All worthy pursuits in their own right, but nothing particularly quotable.

I've had two good editing sessions in a row this week. One on Sunday night and again most of yesterday. I'm learning a great many things about writing and editing, chiefly that my first draft is not so great. It's got potential. I'll give it that much right now. But it's fun to work with.

My glorious neighbors, bless their vibrant sound system, like their music. They like it loud. It pounds and that irritates me. In a brilliant moment of fighting fire with fire I fired up my own sound system on the computer.

I like nature and music combined. Here are two lines from the back of Dan Gibson's Solitudes (R) series, Exploring Nature with Music CD called Harmony.

"The musical compositions weave you into the vibrant world of natural sounds, bringing out all the expressive rhythms therein. Music and nature unite, completely, and in perfect balance. "

It covered enough of the contributions from across the street that I could get some work done.

My two sentences are from The Legend of Shallal where the hominids are meeting with the wolf pack leader.

"He turned to the small band of two legs behind him and bared his canines in a smile. They
caught the reflected light of the quarter-moon straight above his head and glowed."

I haven't been lucky enough to get a photo of a wild wolf yet, never mind one smiling. I hope the picture of the coyote will do.

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

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Baking Weather

The weather turned the other day. It has grown cold and grey. By yesterday snow was falling from leaden skies and the outside air was humid and biting.
It was refreshing to be outside though only for a few minutes. I had most of a cup of coffee outdoors on Sunday and found it bracing.
"Now this," I said aloud to the Universe, "is what I call a great day. Thanks."
This weather is for hunkering down, for preparing for the cold and dark ahead, but more than anything else, it is for baking.

I am grateful for the change in weather as it makes me introspective and willing to do the household chores. Perhaps willing is a strong word, but certainly readier to do them than on a hot, languid day.
I'm also grateful for the wide variety of cookbooks I own. They fascinate me, whether they are several decades old, or ethnic, or specializing in something, they are a wonderful window on cultures. In my world the best way to study a culture is to eat.
I dug out The Ultimate Hot and Spicy Cookbook (Acropolis Books) and sniffed around. There, on p. 241, was this:

It's Peach Kuchen. Not hot in the spicy sense as it uses only cinnamon, and neither did I eat it hot in the temperature sense. It was easy to make and even kind of fun as I like to work with my hands and this involved topping the cake with sliced peaches. It smelled wonderful and looked like a right-side up upside down cake.

We had some more apples to use up. I had the time and inclination so I did this:

I used too much cayenne for my tastes in the last apple pie so I tried this one with black pepper. It's resting comfortably in the freezer right now so the results of the experiment are still pending.

I'm grateful for knowing how to bake, for having the time and the weather to bake, and for being adventurous enough to try new things, and new twists on old favourites.

And I'm grateful that I get to eat the results.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Jonesie

Cancer affects all of us whether we're able to admit it or not.
It's LIVESTRONG day in the United States, the 10th anniversary of Lance Armstrong's cancer diagnosis. A blogger buddy of The Bag Lady is asking people to tell their stories of how cancer has affected their lives. Please check out POD.

Why, yes. I am cute. Thanks for noticing.

This is Jonesie. He showed up on our back porch one day a few weeks ago and acted like he owned the place. I gave him his name because he's been Jonesing to get in our house from the very first moment he set paw on the place.
Until now.
We put the quilt out to take the air yesterday. About an hour later I went into the kitchen and saw what I thought was bird on it.
Instead, it was ears.
The above pussycat knew we clearly put it out for him. He made one token effort to get in the house, and then went back to his down-lined nest.
Since then he's barely twitched a whisker.