Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'd Call It A Win

epic fail photos - Adventure Fail
see more funny videos

Well I'll be damned.

Rocky Mountain House made it to Failblog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Rare Sighting

The rare and elusive Alberta Snow Snake in repose.

Thanks, Hilary. The snake is pleased.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday -- Plodding Along

The rewrite is coming along. It's slow. I distract easily. I was looking up another word for studded yesterday and by the time I raised my eyes from The Writer's Digest Flip Dictionary I'd forgotten what I went in for.
 Oh well, the search was fun.

Also yesterday I started reading Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche by Robert A. Johnson ( HarperSanFrancisco, 1991) Here's a sample:
"It is more disrupting to find that you have a profound nobility of character than to find out you are a bum. Of course you are both; but one does not discover these two elements at the same time."

This struck me for a few reasons including, but not restricted to, it's great to keep in mind when playing with characters.
The season has made me generous.
Here's a whole paragraph from Saintree

"The snipe dived again and laughed. Coyotes spread the news.  A hoot owl responded to a call. A woman's high –pitched scream told her a cougar was on the prowl. Those who slept wasted the deep, sensual beauty of a summer's night."

Snipe on a fence post.
Thanks for reading me. I really appreciate it.
For more or to get in on the fun please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gratitude Monday --A Golden Moment

We went for a drive on Christmas Day. We've been doing this for a few years now and each time out we've been blessed to see eagles.
Usually we see Bald Eagles but this year was different. We found a pair of juvenile Golden Eagles. I was grateful to see them and grateful we were able to get some pictures.
This  picture is barely adequate. If enlarged it will be blurry, but I got the shot. That's what matters.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Gone But Not Forgotten

I took this 25 years ago. It's some outbuildings at my grandparents' farm after they been abandoned for nearly 25 years.  I spent the first year of my life here.
I'm not sure what the buildings are though I suspect the one in the back is a granary and the one in front a shed.  Dad said they had goats for a while and said critters were often found walking on top of  the sheds. The farmstead is overgrown. Most of the buildings are gone. The land was recently sold.
There's no going back now except in my memories.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Return of the Light

The last few dying moments of autumn.

The first few moments of the new season.
Winter is here and it brings the sun.
Welcome the light.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday - Sun Rises, Days Get Longer

The days are expanding into summer.

The clean up on Dead Broke is almost completed. I thought I'd be done by now, but other things, notably serial laziness, got in my way.
On the good side  it does not appear to need much actual rewriting. Not to say my prose is golden, I merely mean I can't find anything obvious that needs work.
I know I just called that good.
It may not be.
In between corrections I played with the world-building for Saintree and sorted a few things out. I'm getting antsy to get back at it, but I promised myself I'd finish the corrections first. 
On the reading end I finally finished The Sun Also Rises. I think I liked it, but I have to say I'm not sure.
It's one of those books that has to sit with me, mature a bit, let its flavours gather.
Hemingway's spare prose has its appeal. He did a fine job of it. And the lack of description most of the time worked.
But I still don't know my opinion of it save for the part where he's discussing the use of steers to keep the bulls calm before bullfighting. That was a brilliant metaphor for the impotent Jake Barnes among the other men, especially those interested in Lady Brett Ashley.
From the brief conversation about the steers in the corral:
" 'What do they have them in for?'
'To quiet down the bulls and keep them from breaking their horns against the stone walls, or goring each other.' "
-Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner Trade Paperback, 2006)
My contribution to the cause this week:
" 'Relax, Eddie. Just relax.'
The whisper ran its hands up and down my body."
Thanks for being here. It's good to know I'm being read.
For more or to get in on the fun please see the Women of Mystery.
And speaking of the sun, Happy Solstice everyone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- Powering Down

The power was off the other day. It lasted about 45 minutes.
It happened about 3:30 p.m. of an overcast day. That cut down on the number of things I could do, but after opening the blinds a bit more I had enough to see the notes well enough to play guitar for a bit.
It's relaxing, and I swear it helps me think.
But after 15 minutes or so my poor uncallused fingers cried so I had to quit.
So I napped. This gave me a chance to quiet myself enough to truly enjoy the quiet around me.
It's different with the appliances off. Even when I mediate now I am aware of what's humming.
On this occasion all was quiet. It was wonderful.
When I power came back on I set about restoring the assorted clocks and settings on the two VCRs and two DVD-Rs.
I enjoyed the respite from the plugged -in world, but I was glad to have lights and heat and all the other benefits of electricity.
I found out the next day that some poor fellow out to set up a nativity scene had caused the outage. He'd been stuck in his truck the whole time. I am grateful this fellow knew enough to stay put.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Money For Nothing

They're back, and this time it's money.
The people who brought us the Amish Mantle Fireplaces are now offering new American quarters. These freshly-minted quarters are not circulated, in mint condition, and are free for $12 plus shipping and handling.
Act now and get 56 quarters (that's 14 dollars friends) that may someday possibly be worth something other than $14.
Like hell.
The $12 covers the cost of the Collectors Coin Chest and the entire first year of the aforementioned quarters.
The offer is through the World Reserve Monetary Exchange. Said body is not affiliated with the US goverment and lists an address in Canton, Ohio. If you follow the link you can spend a few minutes reading how they've hosed people out of their hard-earned money.
These jokers make me mad.
Every few months the Edmonton Journal runs a full page ad--as is their right in a free country-- of weasel*-worded nonsense offering a wide variety of completely useless products. The aforementioned heaters, US coins, uncut US banknotes, and some other products that I've blissfully forgotten.
The bottom third of the ad was devoted to where to call and what code to quote when you do so. Not only did it feature different toll-free numbers  for each province and territory, it was noted how many callers in each province qualify to get the free money.
While the first 92, 175 Ontario residents have a crack at it, only 306 people in NWT have the chance and woe betide the good people of Nunavut. Only 227 people can get it for free.
The ad reassured me that 26, 074 Albertans have this glorious chance before the 48 hour deadline is up. There may still be time.
I enjoy these ads simply because I know better than to believe anything about them. I can laugh. But underneath it I know many people believe these are really collectors items and will grow in value.
That saddens me.
They give their charge card numbers to these people with hope, I am sure, in their voices and in their hearts.
From the complaints I read about this and the other products offered they keep charging the card for a wide variety of expenses.
The only free money here is the money the company gets from its customers.


*I apologize to weasels and all members of the Mustelidae family everywhere. Weasels serve a  purpose. And they smell better than this offer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh Man! Another Politically Correct Move to Howl About.

Calgary city council members are making the big change from alderman to councillor.
On the whole, I find the change sad.
Sure it's inclusive. Except that councillor isn't any more inclusive than alderman.
Oh I know it's the word "man" that's throwing everyone.  Man means person. I wish more people knew or remembered that, or at the very least acknowledged it.
An alderman, I learned in school nearly forty years ago, means "wise older person."
On the one hand I recognize steps have had to be taken because we've forgotten the definition of man over the years. Women got to feeling excluded and society reinforced it with the silly notion that some jobs were only for men.
It got to the point of absurdity at times, though. I once heard a woman referred to as "female chairperson."
I think it was back in the eighties.
It still grates.
It's changed and I agree we must be ever-vigilant, but there comes a  point when we need to stop, take a breath, and assess what we're doing.
Meanwhile, there are some titles that are exclusive. To wit, werewolf. That's a wolf who's also a man, and in this case the man is specifically a human male.
"Wer" means man as in human male. Properly we should be women and wermen.
I say we should bring back this prefix. It would solve so many problems and take care of the inadvertent exclusion. 
Getting back to the lycanthrope dilemma. Rather than go with the tortured "female werewolf," that is, a  wolf who is a man who is female, I say we call her a wowolf. I've been doing it privately for years.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Twosomes -- Optimism Reigns

I've been optimistic lately for a number of reasons including, but not restricted to, the reminder that the common cold will run it's course no matter what.
Said course has kept me from doing too much reading beyond the daily and weekly newspapers, and cough syrup bottles. In another example of raging optimism one name brand I found on the shelf offers both a cough suppressant and an expectorant.
It got in the way of writing, too, so I've been editing a different manuscript than the one I was rewriting. I can still think well to find many mistakes and correct most of them.
This gives me hope.
Two non-contiguous lines I read concerning the ingredients of Nin Jion Herbal Cough and Throat Syrup.
Folium  Eriobotryae (Loquat) (Leaf)
Semen Aremeniacae Amarum (Bitter Apricot) (Seed)
As for my error corrections, well, they're not exciting, but they must be done. I'll get back to the rewrite of Saintree as soon as I can. For now I've opened up Dead Broke. It's been sitting a few months now and the mistakes are easier to find.
Here's a sample.

" 'I thought we didn’t need cash in heaven.'
 'Your security deposit will be taken out in other ways.' "
Thanks for coming by.
For more or to get in on the fun please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- No Place I'd Rather Be

I'm grateful for DVDs. I like recording shows for later. I can zip through commercials or stop when convenient to me, or see another scene again or hear a bit of dialogue I may have missed.
I am further grateful for shows available for purchase. I can watch favourites like the above time and again.
And yeah, I am very grateful for Firefly. 
A space western. Best combo ever.
What about you? Got a favourite you watch again and again?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Ready To Soar

A Bald Eagle prepares to take off from a tree.

My husband and I have been able to spend calm, quiet Christmases lately. Often we'll go for a drive. One such drive two years ago led us to this sight along a paved road less than 10 miles from town.
I was fortuante enough to get several photos of the Bald Eagle in the tree and in flight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Assange-r than Fiction

It's regrettable that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has to stay in jail. Or be in jail for that matter.
He's been making governments nervous, apparently.  When I heard this on the news last night I couldn't help but think, "Good."
It reminded me how whenever we lose some bit of freedom in the interest of anti-terrorism someone invariably responds that if we don't have anything to hide, then we have nothing to fear.
Clearly, governments have something to hide.
I suspect it has little to do with their sacred mission to keep the world safe. In fact, it is in a government's best interest to ramp up the fear while simultaneously reassuring us they're doing everything they can to maintain a secure, safe world.
The sex charges against Assange seem a bit convenient. They appeared the last time his site made a big splash, then all was quiet. Now that there've been more leaks suddenly the sex charges are important again.
This brings me to the point I wanted to make.
Something bothered me about this the first time the charges became known. I apologize for my sketchy details and even sketchier memory but something similar happened here several years ago.
A fellow, Polish immigrant if memory serves, said he'd been recruited by and was an agent of CSIS. I think the agency was responsible for getting settled in Canada and I believe his agency work took place in Europe.
His first name was similar to Richard (but with an ethnic spelling) and I think his surname began with "P."
I cannot remember what happened, and my internet research skills fail me, but whatever it was went public, and CSIS disavowed all knowledge of him.
At the same time he was brought up on a sexual assault charges. The alleged victim was a young man, I think no more than 20.
Interestingly, when the Court day rolled around the victim did not show up.
I wonder, when Assange has his day in Court in Sweden will his alleged victims be there?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Twosome Times Two

I finished rewriting one chapter of the newly rechristened Saintree. I had good intentions of getting more done, but was ambushed by a cold.  It was yesterday before I managed to get back at it and even then about all I could do was re-read what I'd done  
Oh, I cut a few words here and there. I suppose I can be generous and call it work.
I'm throwing in a few extra sentences this week to help with the atmosphere of the selection.
 From Saintree:
The evening grew still. Even the coach driver was quiet. Volga listened to the clopping of the horse's hooves and felt compelled to count them. It helped him think.
Reading didn't fare much better as the cold's accompanying headache muffed up my concentration. I did get some done so here's a bit from The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway  (Scribner, 2006)
"Finally we went up to Monmarte. Inside Zelli's it was crowded, smoky, and noisy."
Thanks for being here. For more or to get in on the fun, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gratitude Monday --The Root of the Matter

I am so very grateful for echinacea. Specifically the e. angustifolia that my husband grew. We dried the roots and make our own capsules as needed.
Lately I've needed.
It's very good for taking out a cold and the like.
While I am in no way offering medical advice I have found that for me it works well. I still have a cold, but it would have been worse.
I hit it with echinacea, cayenne (filled my own capsules) and some commercial garlic capsules that I had around.
I have to be careful with garlic as one of the things it does is make blood platelets slippery. I already take low dose ASA and ginkgo biloba so it's best I watch what I take.
I'm grateful these things exist, that they work, and that I know about them. It makes having a cold almost palatable.
NB The medicinal part of e. angustifolia, as I understand it, is the root.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Favourite Fail

epic fail photos - Hanukkah FAIL

see more funny videos

This is my favourite fail ever.
I felt a need to share.
Happy Chanukah.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday--Where's Yogi?

A family enjoys a picnic in Yellowstone National Park.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Simmering the Cold Away

Turkey Soup. The creamy look is from blenderized potatoes.
Yesterday was soup day. Husband has a cold, I am considering one myself, and I wanted to warm up the house. Soup does that, literally and psychologically.
The carcass went in the pot before 9 a.m. and I let it simmer until mid-afternoon. Good stock takes patience.
We had some leftover boiled potatoes in the fridge. Rather than just chop and toss I decided to sic the immersion blender on them.
I'm glad I did. It made the soup thick and creamy.
Soup is a way to get shed of veggies and whatnot that may be wearing out their welcome. I was able to give a good home to a turnip who ran into a bit of bad luck and wound up in the freezer.
It was mushy and had to be used up quickly, but I think the freezing made it sweeter than it was originally.
The gentle simmer, the soothing, enticing smell, and the knowledge that the evening meal was taken care of helped me write, too.
It was a good day. Even the impending cold didn't seem so bad.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Change and Consistency

When there's snow on the ground, and some on the roof, it's good to remember.
This is Fort Assiniboine, AB. It's where I'm from and where I don't get back to nearly enough.
It's grown a bit since I went to school there, but not so much as to be unrecognizable.
That's good.
Change is inevitable, but it's good to mix it with a bit of consistency. If I stand on this hill just right it looks the way it did every school morning from 1964 to 1976.
Do you have a place to return to?
Where do you go to remember?