Friday, January 22, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday --Scamp and Pal

This has always been one of my favourite pictures. The dogs, Scamp (foreground) and Pal (background) posed for it. They'd been that way for a while when mom saw them and thought it would make a nice picture. She was right.
It's October, probably 1966. The air was crisp, the day was overcast, the Ford Fairlane 500 was parked neatly in front of the house, and the dogs were still full of energy.
They were friends. They ran circles together around the school bus and any other vehicle that moved, swam in the creek, sang with the coyotes, and occasionally play fought until they were tired. When that time came one would lie back and expose his throat while the other pretended to rip it out.
While Pal was long-suffering and consented to be mauled by children, ridden, used as a pillow, and even hitched to a sled once, Scamp was the watcher. He was given more to chasing and we even saw him point at the cluster of rose bushes near the old house once.
I don't think Scamp ever got his due. He was a good dog, and a good friend.
They've been gone a long time. It'll be 40 years in the fall right about the same time of year as that photo was taken. Scamp first, then Pal moped around for three weeks before joining him.
No matter how many pets have come after them, they were the first and they'll always be the best.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I've Frothed Up Another Post of the Week

The wonderful and talented Hilary from The Smitten Image has blessed me with another selection in her Posts of the Week.

I am thrilled.

It is regrettable that the post that brought the honour had to be written, but such is our world.

Please click over to Hilary's blog for more Posts of the Week as well as other posts. I know you'll enjoy yourself.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Twofer Tuesday --The Beauty of Crap

My mind has been occupied with getting things sorted out for our upcoming trip to Cuba rather than on writing.
The guidebook we picked up was named the Best Guidebook of 2005 by the Caribbean Tourism Organization and its author was named Travel Journalist of the Year.

Here's a snippet:

"Cubans are fastidious about dressing well, especially when going out to the theater or dinner, and for business functions. You may wish to take a dress jacket or cocktail dress for dinners in more expensive restaurants, and for that unexpected meeting with Fidel."
- Moon Handbooks Cuba by Christopher P. Baker (Avalon Travel).

I haven't looked at the hard copy of Biting The Dust and likely won't until the middle of next month.
I felt a bit dry and blocked since I printed it out and knew that I should do something to get the flow going. The question was, what?
Then it hit me--dreck. I have permission to write crap, so why not do it? It'll be fun. Ideas will flow and some of them may even be good.
But what would I write?
The beauty of crap is it doesn't matter. The point is unclogging the drain so the good stuff flows.
To that end I opened up a file and started to have at it. Not to brag or anything, but there's a passage where I cringed so hard I had to close my eyes to finish typing it. I thought it was the worst thing ever until I wrote what I'm offering today.
Without further ado or proper preparation here's a little something from Sara Harris' Interesting Time.

And I'm sorry.

"She felt a strange sensation just below her knee like she was being hugged. A look of horror swept over her face as she realized the cause.
'Pupster. You stop that. You stop humping my leg. Even if it is a compliment.'

If you're wondering, yes, the title is an acronym.

For more or to participate please see The Women of Mystery.

Thank you for reading me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gratitude Monday - Out For A Bit

Crossing Kootenay Lake

This Monday I am grateful for many things. Most are to do with my upcoming trip to Cuba.

We almost went to Cuba two years ago, but I had heart trouble instead. When we learned last month that my heart works normally we decided to try for Cuba again.
Not only am I grateful for the second shot at it, the tour we've got this time is even better than the one we had two years ago. We're off for two weeks rather than the one week trip we'd booked originally.
We go to more places and see more of the land and the wildlife. There are hikes to do. If I can't do them, then I can ride in the support vehicle.
We're off a week from today in the stupidearly hours of the morn, but it gets us to Cuba (via Toronto) by early afternoon.
I will spend this week packing and repacking, selecting something to take and then changing my mind, remembering something I need, discarding others items I know I can do without. I'm grateful for that, too, as it means I have clothing to choose from.
I could go on, but you get the idea. I am grateful for the vacation and for every aspect of it.
We're not there yet, and I don't wish to deal in absolutes as I know the Universe has a wacky sense of humour about these things, so I'll just say that we have a trip to Cuba planned and I am grateful.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Snow Pile

I thought you might be amused to see how much snow we've had.
We're obligated by bylaw to clear the street* in front of the house. The snow has to go somewhere. Usually that somewhere is a pile on the corner by the driveway.
It's melted a bit since I took this photo, but not so very much.
For the record, this is just from the sidewalk.

*I mean sidewalk. My misuse was pointed out to me. I'm correcting this way so everyone knows I'm an idiot.
Have You Chequed for Abundance?

It's new moon today, 12:11 a.m. MST, and that means it's time to write yourself an abundance cheque.
You have 24 hours from the time of the new moon in your area to get it done.
Remember, write the cheque out to yourself, leave the date blank, put "Paid in Full" in the amount areas, sign it "The Law of Abundance" and then put it away and forget about it.
Happy Abundance.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Frothing Allegation

I was blessed with an email yesterday exhorting me to stand up for my country and raise particular hell about our national anthem being sung in Hindi at the upcoming Vancouver Olympics.
Oh for Dog’s sake. There’s even a Facebook page if you’d like to read about this frothing allegation.
Not only is not the case, if you read to the end of this Snopes entry you’ll find some similar quack grass about Advance Australia Fair.

O Canada gets translated all the time. So do a bunch of other national anthems. There’s no cause for alarm. Here are a few other languages O Canada has been translated to.
Here’s some history about the anthem.
And it was sung in Cree during the Opening Ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

I’m not sure what it was about this particular email that galled me so much. This sort of nonsense gets passed around the globe all the time and I usually just laugh.
Maybe it’s the scarcely hidden racism covered with a veneer of nationalism.
Perhaps it’s the suggestion that “they” are taking over while we lie back and expose our throats once more.
Or maybe it’s because there was just enough in it, twisted and perverted though it be, to seem plausible for those of us too tired, or too shallow, or too busy to think for ourselves.
Our national anthem will be sung in Canada’s official languages of French and English or maybe we'll have a surprise with another native tongue doing the honours.
If someone wants to sing along in Hindi, or Swahili, Tagalog, Romanche, Esperanto, Klingon or any other language, then they are welcome.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesdays - Grimm Offerings

I'm pleased to report that another Tuesday has rolled around and I'm still here to read, write, and enjoy it.

Our current bedtime story is Grimm's Fairy Tales. These are personal favourites and we've got a few versions of the tales kicking around.
My husband does most of the reading. He does the voices and occasional accent to, so I can tell you listening to Hansel and Gretel was quite a treat.
If you'll let me count what was read to me as reading, then here's a tasty bit:

" 'I have them, and they shall not escape me!'
Early in the morning, before the children were awake, she got up to look at them, and as they lay sleeping so peacefully with round rosy cheeks, she said to herself,
'What a fine feast I shall have! ' "
-Grimm's Fairy Tales, Junior Deluxe Editions, Nelson Doubleday, Inc.

I finished the once-over of my vampire western the other day. I made a few changes here and there and corrected as many of the typos, spellos, and WTFs as I could see on screen. The hard copy is printed out and awaiting my attention.
Very soon.
For now here's a little extra from Biting the Dust:

"The sweet salt streamed down his throat as he drew in every bit that he could before letting the spent body fall to the dust.
Kid wanted to shout. Joy spilled out of his body and overwhelmed him. It made him reel. He knew that gravity would be no match for him if he could only remember how to fly. "

Thanks for reading me.
For more or to get in on the action please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- Alternate Pizza

Today, like most days, I am grateful for pizza. In this case I am grateful that we have access to good Spelt flour so we can make our own.
Commercial pizzas are okay from time to time. In fact it's probably a blessing that both my husband and I have wheat intolerance or we'd have delivery pizza more times than is good for us.
We found some good quality Spelt flour that is ground finely enough for a decent pizza crust without having to first be sifted. It also makes an adequate loaf of bread and pie crust, too.
We enjoy inventing our own pizza. Mike makes the deep-dish crust and I am in charge of toppings.
It's tasty and reasonably healthy and it's a great way to warm up the house on a cold day. I'm grateful for that, too.
Above, the fluffy deep-dish crust that held our recent effort. If you're wondering, it had slow-roasted beef with onion, pepper, Vlahotiri and Kefalotiri cheeses as well as soy cheese, tomato paste thinned with white wine, spinach, portobello mushroom, cilantro, oregano, thyme, and fresh tomato.
It was very good, and I'm grateful for that, too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday - - United Still Stands

The United Church in Fort Assiniboine, Alberta, has been around a long time.
I was baptized in it and I attended services until I stopped going to church at age nine.
If memory serves the year Fort Assiniboine celebrated it's 150th anniversary the church celebrated it's 25th year.
By extrapolation, I'll suggest that turns 62 years old this year.
It's looking pretty good.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gimme My Water Bottle Back

Near as I can figure it, the terrorists have won.
Because we have to surrender personal care items if we try to bring them on the plane with us.
No toothpaste, no shampoo, and only a small amount of fluids as long as they're properly encased. What possible difference does it make what size the clear plastic bag is?
Are we really safer now that we've had our shoes checked?
If I were a terrorist in a faraway land reading about all this nonsense I'd be having a good laugh.
We'll be getting full body scans soon. Those I'm okay with and, in fact, I'd get on the plane stark naked, but let me take my stuff with me when I do it.
Every time something happens we are reactive. The terrorists do something so we take measures so they can't do it like that anymore. This forces them to think of something new and when they do we lose a bit more of our freeedoms, privileges, rights, and common sense.
All we do is roll over and take it.
I'm sick of it.
We look to the government to protect us and have yet to realize it's not going to happen.
This is not fear-mongering. It's a sad statement that we refuse to look after ourselves. We gladly give up personal responsibility for the illusion of safety.
Our government does a lot of stuff to make it look like it's doing something. It isn't, but we are lulled by the pretense of action.
I've had it.
I'm sick of being a victim.
We must stop being scared and reactive. Put an end to the absurd notion that taking away personal care items is a security measure. The only people who would use them against us will simply come up with something else, and there we'll be, helpless.
Give us back our shampoo and nail clippers and our Swiss Army knives.
But... but...they can be used as weapons.
Damn straight they can.
By us against anyone trying anything deadly on a plane.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's Tuesday! Yay! Sentences!

Scary-ish cattail photo. Sort of related in that the tale I'm reading features a cat.

I've taken a bit of a break from the Two Sentences Tuesdays, but I'm pleased to say I haven't taken a break from writing. Well, editing really. I'm nearly finished fixing the obvious errors in my vampire western. Soon I'll run out a hard copy and find what else is wrong with it.
It should be fun.

I'm currently reading a fantasy novel by Mercedes Lackey from her Elemental Masters series. It's No. five. I haven't read the other four, but I may have to now.
Here are two sentences from it.
In this scene the main character, and her maid, and the creature that lives in her kitchen have trapped a homunculus.

"Limping slightly, the cat leaped out the window, leaving the two young women and the brownie staring at one another.
'Well,' Ninette said, finally. 'Do you think we ought to put more heavy things on top of the pot?'

-Reserved for the Cat, Mercedes Lackey (Daw Books, Inc. 2007)

Here's a bit from my recent foray into correcting.
From Biting the Dust:

"Part of her wanted to hold Jemima Clayton and the other longed to sink her fangs into the beautiful slender neck and drink. Holding Jemima meant she'd be consumed by her. The other way meant she'd consume Jemima. Desire and death.
'Kiss or bite,' she muttered. She turned Hades to the valley and rode."

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

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- A Nice, Fresh Year to Play With

Athabasca Lookout in the Sandhills east of Ft. Assiniboine, Alberta.

Here it is, 2010, a nice fresh year to play with. A whole year with no mistakes in it, to paraphrase the title character of Anne of Green Gables.
Resolutions? Nah. Not as such, anyway.
Rather than resolve to do anything concrete or set any goals or give myself things to achieve I decided instead to go about it like this:
I'll take the year as it comes and try not to mess up too badly.
If I do mess up too badly, then I'll take the consequences as they come.
Whatever comes down the pike, I'll be grateful for the experience of it.
And you?