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.