Friday, October 29, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday - Sacred Area

Sacred Site

The  interpretive fire trail on the way to Landslide Lake goes through an area sacred to the local natives. Several such areas can be found throughout the west country and are marked by clothing attached to trees.
Forgive me, but I cannot remember the reason right now and I can't find it.*
It always gives me pause to find one of these areas. It makes the earth seem that much more alive.

*ETA: The fabric is an offering to the spirits.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is It Just My Imagination?

Or does the leaf in yellow here look like the lips from

Halloween is coming.
Can you tell?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday -- The WIP Stopped Fighting

My current WIP was fighting every edit I offered it until the other day when something magical happened. It stopped fighting and started accepting. Mostly what happened is I've hit a section of the WIP that doesn't require as much work as the first few chapters.
This makes me happy. I needed a break. I was going through more chocolate than usual and stocks were reaching the critical refill mark.
Here's a sample:
" 'I understand,' " Shallal said. She was hand-feeding an old, horned hog. It grunted with contentment and licked her hands up to her wrists."
Reading got shuffled aside for most of the last week. The reason falls in equal measure of editing and letting Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True seep into my poor, overtaxed mind. It's a lot to digest.
It was Sunday before I felt ready to read anything again.
I've started The Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs (Ace, 2001) and was taken into the story right away. It's good to get away.
Here are two lines:
"My face hurt suddenly, and I saw Kith, his upright hand a few inches from my face. But the screams in my head continued unabated."
Thanks for being here. I really appreciate the attention.
Two Sentence Tuesday exists because of the Women of Mystery.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gratitude Monday - Somewhere Under The Rainbow

Rainbows are fine things.
I've always enjoyed them and been grateful for their promise of leprechauns and magic and maybe all the other special things we have in life but forget about because we've forgotten how to see.
What do you think about when you see a rainbow?
This is from a recent trip out west. It's across the road from the Nordegg.
I played with it a wee bit.
Camera filters are fun and good for the creative side. They can bring out the stuff we've forgotten to see.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Don't Know Anything

Open your mind to a wealth of possibilities.

My philosophy of life is simple: I don't know anything.
Not literally, of course. I mean this in the sense that I don't know everything, I am not always right, and there is more than one way to look at things.
My point in looking at things this way is there is always something to learn. It might be a new way to view a problem, or an issue, or even a ripping good rumor. 
It by no stretch means I am opinionless. Just the opposite. But after nearly 20 years of reporting I am good at keeping my opinions to myself.
Rather than argue with a person who comes out with something outlandish I usually listen to what's offered.
Am I swayed?
I rarely argue, but I also rarely encourage. 
I might hear something I didn't know from useful information to a  new twist on a conspiracy theory. To a writer the latter is useful information. You never knows what nugget will be perfect for a story.
The point is this, if you argue all the time because it is your belief that you are right and everyone else is wrong, then you will close your mind to a universe of possibilities and wonder.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday -- A Glorious Mess

Writing has gone slowly this past few weeks. I'm in the midst of rewriting. I've added a character. I'll probably excuse a few other characters from the story somewhere down the line. What was chapter two is now that plus 2A and 2B.
Currently it is a glorious mess. I think that's good because mess can be cleaned. But for now, I'm going to go along and make more mess and worry about cleaning it up later.
Here are two fresh efforts from the WIP:
"She harnessed her mind and put it toward complete relaxation, to melting into the ground and the tree and becoming the earth until she and it had neither beginning nor end.
The earth whispered in her heart and set an arm around her soul."
I finished Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True  (Harper, 2009) yesterday. There's a lot to absorb.
Here are two:
"Six months before, that remark would have pissed me off. Would have put me right on the defensive."
Thanks for being here.
For more or to get in on the fun, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gratitude Monday-- The "Canadian, Please" Video

I'm grateful to be Canadian. This video sums it up.
Turn on the CC to get the lyrics.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Photo Finish Friday -- Penguin Beach

Penguins on the beach at Punta Norte, Argentina.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Black and White Issue

 I've been honored again. Thank You.

The civic elections are coming. Next Monday voters across the province get to have their say about who runs their towns or cities, counties/municipal districts, and school boards.
I vote. I have always voted and I will continue to do so as long as I can mark an X.
For me it's a black and white issue. If you don't vote you don't get to complain about the results.

A black and white issue: no vote, no complaints
 It galls me no end that people refuse to cast a ballot. Some are lazy, others don't care, and still others invent some lame excuse about not knowing enough about the candidates or issues to make an informed choice.
You make me sick.
At least those whose excuse is apathy are honest about it. It still annoying, but they aren't hiding anything.
Here in Canada like many other free countries we're free to not vote without repercussions.
This brings up the other laughable point.
Non-voters who say they aren't casting a ballot because there's no one to vote for, ergo they claim not voting is a gesture of protest.
You sicken me almost as much as the people who hide behind ignorance.
If there were consequences, such as in Australia where voting is mandatory, then not voting is taking a stand. Here, it's an excuse for being lazy or apathetic.
I honestly don't care about school board. I have no hamster on that wheel. But I will still vote because it is my duty, because it is my right, and because they might do something with my tax money that I don't like and I will want to complain about it.
In some countries people risk their lives to vote.
Here, more than half of us can't be bothered.
I've wish each and every one of you apathetic excuses for citizens could spend five years in one of those countries. Maybe you'd appreciate what you've got.
On Monday move your lazy, apathetic carcasses, hold your noses, and make a mark for the candidate you believe in or the one who offends you the least.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Happy Thanksgiving

I thought I'd change the spirit of Thanksgiving around a bit and try to come up with something for which I am not grateful.


Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and family.


-wild turkey photo by Mike Mayrl

Friday, October 8, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Cuba from a Mogote

Mogotes can be found near Vinales, Cuba. We climbed partway up one, maybe 50m, and then went though a cave complete with bats and out the other side.

I took this while taking a quick rest during the nearly straight up climb.
Among the crops grown around there are tobacco and sweet potatoes. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bearing the Truth about Yeti

Most things have a basis in reality, albeit a thin one in some cases, but still a basis.
Lycanthropy accounts for werewolves.  Porphyria gives us a leg to stand on for vampirism.
Zombies have their anchor in Vodun, as Canadian ethnobotanist Wade Davis wrote about in The Serpent and the Rainbow.
But what about the humble Sasquatch?
Yeti, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman, have been around a long time and pop up around the world from Tibet to California to our own Canadian Rockies.  Some 21 years ago hunters called the newspaper I worked at to tell the tale of seeing a Sasquatch one fine Saturday in the bush.
I didn't cover the story so I've forgotten the finer points, but I do recall that we decided it was probably a bear. A bear looks awfully human standing up and at a distance.
Photo by my husband Mike Mayrl.
 But there is a legitimate basis for the legends, at least in Tibet.
Mountain climber/adventurer Reinhold Messner spent a great deal of time there searching and wrote a book about it.
Mike and I read it years ago as a bedtime story. In it, he describes an encounter with a Yeti and later finding out about a Himalayan bear called a Chemo. It is his position that the Yeti is this bear.
No, that doesn't explain our Sasquatches, but it does give a reasonable basis for the legends, and that's what matters.
Like I said, I believe there's a basis in reality for everything, but that does not mean everything is real.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Other Other White Meat

I've recently gone back to eating pork after years of listening to my MIL insist to her alternative therapy clinic clients that it's too much like human.
I presume she meant it in the sense that pig bits can be used to replace human tissue , but it bothered me so much that I went off pork for years. I still ate ham and bacon, but I couldn't manage the uncured stuff.
But now that I can enjoy the other white meat I find the marketers aren't keen to let us know about the other other white meat.

Lawyers for the (American) National Pork Board sent a 12 page cease and desist order to ThinkGeek over its canned unicorn meat slogan
Suggested Unicorn recipe here.

Yes, it's old news, an April Fool's joke, but I was really looking forward to some canned unicorn meat this winter.
And let the record show the porkers were only protecting their trademark, as well they should.
But dang, now I really want some unicorn.
Hilary at  The Smitten Image gave me this for my Friday post and I'm tickled silly over it.
Thank you, Hilary.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday - Making Me Think

Carrots- could they grow in a sea shell field?
As I've said in past weeks I'm rewriting my first manuscript. It's slow work and somewhat frustrating, rather like coaxing carrots to grow in a field of sea shells.
It's good practice, though, and a good exercise. It's also making me think.
Thinking's fine if I can get a break from it, but I'm reading an intense, thought-provoking book right now so there is no respite.
Two from my current read, Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True (Harper 2009)
"When  I go back to our dorm, I stood, bewildered, before our broken typewriter case--passed my finger over its sharp, smashed edge. Turned and stood there, studying my brother as he slept, mouth agape, eyes shifting behind the lids."
From my WIP The Legend of Shallal:
"It stirred her. Whispered a secret to her that she could not understand."
Thanks for being here. For more or to get in on the fun please see the Women of Mystery.
Hell, see 'em anyway. You'll be tickled silly that you did.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- Putting the Yellow in Yellowstone

I'm grateful for the trip to Yellowstone, and for being able to take as many pictures as I did. I could have taken more and maybe another time I will.
This is the petrifed tree. It's by itself on a hill and it's fenced off to keep it safe.
I can see a distinct "Sam the Eagle" face in it which was brought out even more by using the color extraction filter. I'm grateful for the chance to play with those filters, too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Lined Up for Fall

Theh sun catches some trees after a rain highlighting their new fall colours.