Thursday, July 29, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Old Havana

 A scene from our hotel balcony in Old Havana.

I'm putting it up early because I've been lax about posting this week and thought I should get something going lest you fear I've deserted you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gratitude Monday-- Reflecting

Gratitude is reflected back to you, no matter how dark you feel.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Photo Finish Friday --Relax and Imagine

Prairie Creek where it meets the North Saskatchewan River

Take a moment, relax, and imagine where the bend may take you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Too Close For Comfort

Checking out the compost. I took this photo through the screen door.
A small black bear wandered into my back yard yesterday afternoon. I was outside with my back to the steps on the deck reading the paper when something black walked through a corner of my vision. I thought it was a very large dog and was about to order it out of the yard when I realized what it really was.
I live in town, but near the edge. Moose have wandered by, deer have been in the yard, skunks even, but this was the first bear. I hope it is also the last.

I got braver and stepped on the deck for this photo.  It's trying to find a way out of my yard.

Stymied by the fence.

It checked out my garden, then climbed the side fence to the neighbour's yard and went up a tree for a while. Eventually it got down and went to a yard across the alley.
I regret that this story does not have a happy ending. Bears have been removed from town, but always came back. For safety reasons relocation was not an option.
I am sorry.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeding Time

Feeding time.

This is a Lincoln's Sparrow, as near as I could figure it.  The nest was in our front yard in the tree next to this one and the offspring kept mom-or dad--busy bringing food.
I haven't seen it around for several days. After I took this picture I tried to find the nest and junior came flying out.
I think it flew the coop recently and that makes the parents free to go about their important bird business.
It's getting on that time of year when the birds who are only here for the summer pack their beaks for the trip south.  I'm sorry to see them go as the yard gets pretty quiet once they leave. 
We've had a few pine siskins around, and we have our faithful goldfinches, but I think this is the first year Lincoln's Sparrows have blessed us.
I hope they nest here often.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Twofer Tuesday -- What a Character

Another week and my WIP is starting to fall into place. I've made some progress although I've got a second character, a woman, who is tough to get to know. I wrote a 1400+ word back story on her the other day. I thought I had something to go on until this morning when she told me she was a liar. And borderline psychotic. Oh, goody. Of course, she might be lying about that last bit.

Here's a bit from Dead Broke:

"Samantha used to tell me she was fine. It took me a long time to get that it really wasn't fine, it hadn't been fine for a long time, and if I didn't pull up my socks it might not ever be fine again."
I finally got around to giving The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger, Little, Brown and Company, copyright 1945) a second go.
I read it in school, Gr. 8 I think, and didn't care for it. I suspected I may  have been too young to truly get it them so I decided recently to try it again. After all I read The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird in school and didn't like them.  They are faves now with TKAM my favourite book ever  'sides the dictionary.
I am confident I now get The Catcher in the Rye.  It's a fine book, a classic, and deservedly so. But to tell the brutal truth, I still don't like it.

The writing style didn't appeal to me, and frankly, Holden Caulfield is kind of annoying. There I said it. He's a great character, Salinger did a wonderful job with him, but he doesn't do it for me.
I'm glad I read it again. I can articulate my feelings on it from a fresh view instead of  vague memories floating around from the 1970s. And I'm glad I don't feel obligated to to like something just because it's good.

Here are two from it:
"She was about as kindhearted as a goddam wolf. You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phony stuff in movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart."
Twofer Tuesday is brought to us courtesy The Women of Mystery.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gratitude Monday - As Above, So Below

As above, so below.

I live so close to this it makes a comfortable day trip.
The world falls away as I drive to the mountains. The scales fall from my eyes the deep  in to them I go.
The scales, the baggage, the covers and trappings of ordinary daily life build back up as the days progress, but when I need to, I can go here and be restored.
Where do you go?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday--Days Long Past Still Here

A common sight in Cuba

Old American cars in mint condition are a common sight in Cuba. Many of them earn their keep as taxicabs.
For as many as you'll see lovingly kept up there are just as many held together by rust and luck.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Twofer Tuesday --Book Report, and More Goats!

 For your goating pleasure.

If you'll recall a few months ago my husband and I were reading the sequel to Heidi called Heidi Grows Up  by Charles Tritten, Johanna Spyri's translator.
I believe I promised at least one of my faithful readers I'd let you know how it was when we were done. I've let the matter cool and gather for a while now.
I called it a dry read then, and I'll go so far as to call it egregious now. Some people can write out a grocery list and it's a soaring epic of pain and joy. Tritten took a good idea and made it read like a grocery list.
It was boring and dull. Description was not his gift so we don't have a clear picture of Maienfeld or Dorfli or the mountains or, well, anything. He does mention the Falknis on occasion as though everyone ought to know all about it.
Anyone who's read Spyri's wonderful work knows that Heidi and Peter will end up together. In the sequel it seems Heidi is clueless as to this outcome.  I understand what the author was trying to do, but he failed.
I know I sound harsh, but  it's how I see it. Others may disagree. For Tritten's sake I hope so. I hope he has fans who love his work and that he made a healthy living with his two (he also wrote Heidi's Children) sequels.
Good for him for doing this. I think everyone should pursue their dreams and I'm happy that he got to do it.  I wish it had been to my taste, but it wasn't and in all fairness, Heidi was a tough act to follow.

Meanwhile I've been reading at a reasonable pace and whittled my TBR main pile (we won't discuss the back up TBR pile) so dangerously low that I had to buy more books the other day.  One does as one can.

Last week I read  Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett (Corgi Books, 1987)
Two lines:
"She found that life in the cottage wasn't entirely straightforward. There was the matter of the goats' names, for example."

I've done a bit more work on Dead Broke. It's coming along slowly, but at least it's coming along. Part of the problem is there's alway something around here that needs attention be it food, house, husband, or garden. I get up early to get things done and have discovered the earlier I start the less I accomplish.
Despite all that I have written a bit. Here are recent lines:

"Eddie, this is Dr. Phinneas Mossheart. He wants to help. And yes, he does exist."
Thanks so much for coming by. I really appreciate your attention.
Twofer Tuesday's are brought to us by the wonderful Women of Mystery. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- Close to Nature

This strawberry, along with several others like it, is growing along the edge of our back lawn. I may eat it one of these days. I haven't decided yet.
For now I'm glad it's there and I'm glad I know what it is.
Sometime in the mid-90s Mike and I were driving through Yukon when construction forced us to stay put for a few hours.
We got out and wandered around as did many others. Mike wandered toward the bush where he found ripe strawberries. He ate some and brought some to me to enjoy.
A woman  25-35 years old from a city in Ohio approached me and was mortified to see what my husband was doing.
"Those berries could be, like, totally poisonous."
I assured her they weren't and that my husband knew what he was doing.
Her horror continued. She was ready to scream or cry or possibly vomit in terror.
I didn't pursue the matter with her because I, too, was horrified though for a different reason. I suspect if I'd asked her where she thought such berries came from her answer would be, "The store."
If I pressed I suspect she might venture, "California."
Like so many others, this woman lives so far away from the natural world that it is strange to her. Perhaps the only strawberry she knew was overlarge, deep red, and as plastic tasting as the container it came in.
This is sad.
For my part I am grateful that I really know where berries come from, that I can identify them, and that I am not scared to feast on nature's bounty when I find it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday--Wetland Edition

The wetlands are alive with new growth. This is taken along the edge of a lake. The plant on the left, with the segmented look, is horsetail.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's A Living

The pussycats in Cuba mean business.
These two, like so many others, hung around the tourist feeding places and waited for the visitors to take pity on them.
They were friendly enough in that stand-offish way a cat that doesn't know you has. However, they knew how to beg and did well at it.
They roamed from leg to leg brushing, mewling, and when they had your attention looking plaintive and a little edgy. I wondered sometimes if I didn't feed them, then what would they do?
I never mustered the courage nor froze my heart enough to try.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


A bug goes about its business on a blooming buckbean.

It's good to stop and look. All manner of life happens under our feet, under our noses, and usually under our radar.
We're so swept up in what we see in front of us that we forget to look down and around.
Life goes on around us no matter what takes up our time or what we think is important.
I try to take a few moments out of the day to rest and really see what is happening around me. A walk out at one of the local lakes, such as where this was taken, is a good way to do it. So is weeding the garden, or for that matter, sweeping the floor.
Be in the moment and see what it has to offer.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gratitude Monday--Ambitious Sprouts Edition

Several potatoes are growing wild in my garden. At least a dozen plants have popped up and are smiling at me.
It's good to see them. I have a limited amount of room in my garden so it is devoted to salad spices and a few other things including a few carrots and peas.
The spuds are a bonus and I am grateful for them.
What happened is we compost. Each year the compost is dug into my garden and thus random veggies struggle up each year and I commonly leave them be.
We had potatoes from my FIL this year and as they sat awaiting their fate they do as potatoes do, they sprouted. It is those ambitious little sprouts that got their start in a box in a darkened corner of my kitchen that are now waving their leaves in the breeze and helping themselves to the nutrient-rich soil bed.
I weeded them today, assuring them they have as much right to be there as anything deliberately planted. As I did I realized life finds its own level. It will start where it can, when it can, and what it can, and it will survive as best it can.
What more can we ask?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday-- A Summer View

A simple dew drop on a leaf says summer to me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canoeing on the Clearwater

Last Sunday Mike and I took the canoe out for a trip down the Clearwater River south of Rocky.
We put in at one bridge about eight or so miles from town and got out at a second bridge about three miles from town.

The water was murky and we found plenty of rapids to enjoy. If you're wondering, the water is quite shallow. We could often touch bottom with the paddles and we scraped gravel a few times.

The river has some tall. dramatic banks with gravity-defying vegetation.

During the trip I couldn't help but think what a Canadian thing this was to do. The country was opened up by explorers and fur traders who traveled by canoe.

We found several islands in the stretch we did.

Someone tried to make river access easier.

The land changed from steep banks to rolling farmland as we neared the second bridge and it brought us back to civilization, both in reality and in our minds.

Happy Canada Day everyone. I hope you get a chance to explore something.