Monday, December 28, 2015

Gratitude Monday - I Fixed It Myself Edition

I fixed something the other day.
I have a mini food processor that came with the regular food processor as a bonus.
It is handy as all get out and I use it often.
But the other day it didn't work. The lid has a small plastic lip on it that fits in a slot on the back. Without this slot filled it won't turn on.
How the lip got broken I don't know and neither does it matter. The point is the machine was dead.
I think this feature is intended a safety measure. A thing that chops and slices is best operated securely covered.

It eventually occured to me that if something of the right size and weight went into the slot all would be well.
I took a flashlight and shone it in the slot to see what I was up against. There I found a wheel that yielded to a bit of pressure.
A few days earlier I'd found a bit of plastic that I think was part of packing material for a coffeemaker. Why I still had it I don't know, but I did and I am happy.
It was a perfect fit.
The bit of plastic went into the slot and there it stayed.
I remind myself when I see it that the machine, in essence, fully armed. I must be extra careful when I chop or grind with it. If I were to accidentally turn it on while loading all manner of things would come flying out.
So I will be careful when I use it, but I can use  it.
I am grateful for that, for me figuring out what to do, and for that little piece of plastic that wandered back into my life and stayed.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Long Night Day

Today  is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and that means the days will get longer.
The solstice proper is 9:48 p.m. MST.
We will be looking toward the light and for it I am grateful.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- All Bacon All The Time Edition

I am grateful for bacon.
I eat it almost every day and rarely does it disappoint.
Over the course of my lifetime I've had the odd batch of bacon that wasn't very good, but it was still bacon.
It goes with almost everything and is suitable for every meal.
What more could a person ask?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday - Extreme Close Up

When I first got my Nikon CoolPix L820 I played with the available settings, including the extreme zoom.
I was curious what would happen and what it would do to the quality of the photo.
The above is the result.
I stood in town and took a picture of the mountains 50 miles away.
While it cannot be called a good photo, I like it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Gratitude Monday--Tuesday Edition

Greetings from the library.

My computer is in the shop and has been since last Wednesday. I am grateful it is being repaired and I am grateful I live in a town where I can go to the library for free internet use.

It's been interesting being cut off from civilization as I have come to know it. It is quieter, easier, and it leaves me to make my own amusements.
I may even be calmer.

Whatever else this is be it a needed break or a lesson it is enjoyable and for that I am grateful.


If there are any errors I will get to them another time.

Thanks for being here.

-The Management

Monday, November 30, 2015

Gratitude Monday - Simple Beauty

We have a bit of snow. It's not much, but it helps the small animals whose coats turn  hide from predators. I am grateful for it, but we need more.
The weather has been warmer than it ought for this time of year. All we can do is enjoy what we have.
Yesterday we went for a walk in the Cheddarville Natural Area south and west of town. We found a trail to walk on through the woods. It was sunny, not too cold, and a quadder had seen to it the trail was fairly easy to walk on. I am grateful for easy walking.
Snow-capped trees and grass are beautiful and silent.  It was almost too quiet with only a chickadee here and there to remind us we were still in the world.
There is much to be grateful for in the world and snow is included.

The simple beauty of snow on a rose bush.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Birthday Edition

Yesterday was my birthday. This makes me 57 now and grateful for many, many things.
I'm healthy, happy, secure, and well looked after.
I love and am loved.
I get to do stuff I want.
Life is good and relatively easy in that the house is warm, potable water is available at the turn of a tap, the fridge, freezer, and cupboards are stocked with good, healthy food as well a few treats that are good in only a few senses of the term.
If there's more that one could ask,  then I am not aware of it and therefore do not need it.
Life is good.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gratitude Monday-- Unicorn Guide Edition

My unicorn guide came to me yesterday.
I felt unicorn energy around me Saturday evening. It impelled me to research them. 
The next morning she came by, and she brought a herd.
Encore, the lead unicorn, said her name was a hint.
She showed me a key in my mind and guided me to unlock a door, similar to a bank vault.
In it were shelves marked Skills, Abilities, Talents, and a few others at least one of which referred to specifically to those things I used to do but put aside,
I expect she told me to call her Encore because it means to come back out and offer a bit more.  I believe it means get back to doing what I used to do.
That may refer to many things from hypnosis and energy healings to occasionally speaking in rhyme,  or even living in my imagination.
I liked to work with my hands. Is still do, but it was different then.  
I used to take things apart to see how they work. When I was much younger, under 10, I liked to tinker around with stopped clocks and watches. I made them work. I have no idea how I did it, but it was fun. It felt good and right to do it.
Whatever the message means I am grateful for it, and grateful for Encore and the other unicorns coming into my life.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Gratitude Monday- My Husband Baked Edition

Yesterday my husband baked and for it I am grateful.
He made Povetica, a Croatian yeast-based coffee cake with walnut filling.
It took a few hours as there's rising involved.
It tastes really good.
No photos as he was not pleased with the look.  It's strudel-like, but with gluten free flours that can be a challenge.
It was a grey day yesterday with the promise of snow ever present, but never fulfilled.  It was the perfect day for baking.
He did the dishes afterward. I am grateful for that as well.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gratitude Monday--Repurposed Writing Edition

I've abandoned manuscripts here and there. Some part way through and others after a few rewrites.
Generally I keep them in one form or another as one never knows when a character, turn of phrase, or even a story bit will come in handy.
You can bet I am grateful I do it.

Yesterday such a thing happened.
I clicked on an abandoned manuscript and ended up reading a recast excerpt from a different manuscript. I'd made it fit with very few changes.
This particular manuscript still needs to rest. It may never see the light of day. But the excerpt might.
Either I can recast the original or recast this recast and make it a standalone story.
In fact, I've left myself a computer sticky note to do just exactly that.

I'm eager to get at it and will know shortly if it is workable. Whether it is or not does not matter right now. What matters is I have the material to play with and for that I am grateful.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Here's A Thought

Space neither begins nor ends.

Neither do we.

What do you think?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Gratitude Monday - A Day Like Any Other

Much as I like a bit of excitement, doing something different, having new experiences, there's a lot to be said for routine.
There's good routine, the day to day activities of regular life.  I am grateful for them. They bring stability, order, and peace to life.
They get me through the day and are excellent marker posts for days when the interesting stuff happens.
Each day I get up, get out of bed, pour a partial cup of coffee, and go outside.
I drink this first bit of coffee outdoors.  I greet the sky, the day, feel how it is, gaze at the stars if they're out, or the morning sun if it's summertime.
It is a simple thing, a daily pleasure that lays the groundwork for the day, and for it I am grateful.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Comfort, Then The Fear

Not long ago I wrote about the clown in the barn. Shortly afterward I realized I'd forgotten something important.
The fear didn't set in right away. 

You see, until I was five years old I'd go to the barn every chance I got to gaze at the drawing on the wall. I'd forgotten this part until after the blog post was published.
I suppose it was a clown then, too, but I didn't fear it. The grease pencil figure  on the boards was comforting.
For those moments when I stared at it I was with the visitor again.
I remembered.
What did I remember?
The feelings of warmth and comfort, love and belonging.
But the most important and compelling thing I remembered was who I was.
I am not sure what that means.
I still remembered the thing that the clown drawing was supposed to help me recall.
In those days I had yet to forget it. I thought I never would.
I also never used to avoid the unused chop bin in the barn.
In fact I liked to go in the room and often did so while dad did chores.
But one late winter afternoon that all changed. I went in the room as I commonly did. I asked dad to close and lock the door which he did.
(Side note: the lock was a wooden handle that one simply twisted leaving one end in front of the door  and the other by the wall.)
The room was bare. The light stayed off. There was no possible way for me to get into any trouble.

I was there only seconds.
The clown from the wall jumped me from behind. One arm went around my neck, the other went around my waist.

I screamed.
Dad let me out.

Years ago mom, dad, my sister and I went back to the farm to look.  I took photos of the wall. I took photos of the room.
Of course there's nothing.

I have no idea what actually happened
My dad was a few steps away about to do the chores. I think my sister was in the barn. In my mind I see someone about her size, wearing red.

It was after this incident the fear kicked in.
I never went back in to gaze at the drawing on the wall. All comfort from it was gone.
I forgot who really put it there. I forgot what I said I'd remember.
I suspect that was the point of the chop bin incident.
I had to forget all of that and simply be a human child. Visitations would cloud that life.
The cord had to be cut.
It hurts, but I get it.

I continue to look into this chiefly through self-hypnosis.  Yesterday morning I tried to take a closer look at it. I had a  mental image of a white door with a round handle closing. I know there's something on the other side I need to see.
But I guess that's for another day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Election Edition

Today is the federal election and that means we get to vote.
It also means we get to not vote with impunity.
I am grateful for both.
I am happy I live in a land that has free and democratic elections. We have several parties to chose from and we get to mark out ballot in secret with no one telling us where the X goes.
It's what brave men and women fought and died for.
Equally important is the freedom to not vote without fear of reprisals. It is also what those brave men and women fought and died for.
It galls me no end that so many people exercise their right to not vote. If everyone voted I suspect many of our elections would have a far different outcome.
Who you vote for is your business, and if you chose not to vote that's your business, too.
But please, non-voters, keep in mind that someone in your constituency is voting right now for someone you don't like.
Why not reply in kind?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gratitude Monday --Everything

Today is Thanksgiving, the day when we find all manner of things for which to give thanks.
Rather than write out a list let me just say I am grateful for everything.
Whatever it is or was is done. Whatever will be, let it come.
It'll be good unless I decide it is bad or indifferent. Even if I do that, in retrospect I'll discover it was actually good.
That's why I say I am grateful for everything, because it is all good.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Is It In The Cards?

I've started reading ordinary playing cards.  Here's what happened.
Last week I watched two videos featuring Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine discuss reading tarot cards.
They were mildly interesting, but one thing did strike me. Each said the interpretation of the card is what you feel about it, not just the denotative meaning of the card.
I've tried tarot from time to time and I've had more misses than hits. The key to understanding what I was attempting was missing.
After the videos I got it.
Once I had the key I had the feeling that ordinary playing cards would work just as well as a dedicated tarot pack.
I played with the tarot a bit, then dug out the playing cards.

I cleansed them, went through the deck thanking each card for its help, and then asked the All Of The Above* for guidance in receiving and understanding what the cards said.

What a blast.

It was cold and wet on Saturday with a bit of snow so I asked the cards if the Saw-whet evening was going ahead. The cards said yes. If you look at the post underneath this one, you'll note they were correct.

This could easily be coincidence. When you ask a yes or no question you have an equal chance of being right or being wrong.
But I still call it a win.

I've been using the cards almost every day and am still learning what each means to me. I don't know that I would ever do this for a living, but it could happen. Over the years I've asked the All Of The Above what I will do and I've always been told it is something I'd never think I'd be doing.
This certainly qualifies.

No matter what this is a fun tool for receiving guidance and I will keep at it until I decide not to anymore.

Meanwhile, I asked the other day who would win the federal election Oct. 19. According to to the cards it's Justin Trudeau.
Two weeks from now we'll know if that was in the cards.
I used to go through the long list of God, Angels, Archangels, Higher Self, All That Is, Universe, Guides, Helpers, Spirit, etc., All Of The Above is easier.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gratitude Monday -Release The Owls Edition

We went to an evening of food and owls Saturday and it was magnificent.
It was organized by the Beaverhill Bird Observatory east of Edmonton.  We were fed steaks and then ornithologists captured, banded, weighed, and measured Northern Saw-whet owls for tracking.
Attendees got to watch, learn, ask questions, pet the saw-whets, and help set them free afterward.

I got to release an owl.
SawWhets 011

SawWhets 009

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lead Me Into Forgiveness

I finally get why being a leader upsets me.
Here's a bit of background:
Years go, I was maybe 12 at a family reunion on mom's side. There was a keg.
I helped myself, as so many others did.
At one point several other children lined up behind me.
I neither called them nor wanted them. For the record I did not entice them to the keg in any way.
But to hear a cousin's wife tell it, all the little children were lined up behind me. The clear implication being I deliberately led them into temptation and proceeded to provide it.
(Sidebar: Fuck you, Judy. I always liked you. Still do, but fuck you, Judy.)
This upset me.
I swore I didn't bring them along. They lined up of their own free will
I screamed inside, "I'm not a leader."

I can't stop anyone from following me to a keg, or down the street, or into a set of beliefs.  It's personal choice. But I resented the implication that I'd done it deliberately.
I realized over the years it was more than simple resentment.
The idea of leading scared me.
Being first in line is fine, but I do not lead. I do not want the responsibility.
Lately I have been wondering why. On Monday I got the answer.
During my meditation I asked what was holding my career back. According to  LeahWorld I should long have been a published author.

The scene from a past life flowed into my mind. I am familiar with this life as I have been regressed to it a few times.
My name was Erich von Stronn.*  I was a young soldier of the German army.  I led a small unit of men. We were ambushed. Some were killed. I was captured and tortured and left to die in the cold in the square in a Russian town.

Some of the men of the unit are in my life today. One despises me. I am sure he blames me for his death.
Another is a long-time friend. He has told me he does not blame me.
The other I have know for close to 50 years. She and I are friends, but time and distance has kept us apart.
It was she who betrayed us.
In our life now she is the only person who ever told me a secret that I later spilled. By later I mean the first chance I got.
I always wondered why I did that. It is out of character for me to say the least.

Fearing leadership has kept my career back. I understand it and knew to take the only step to shatter its power.
I forgave the betrayer.
But more importantly I forgave me.
I accepted responsibility for the deaths of my men,  I let a betrayer in our midst. I had to forgive me for that, and then forgive me for the betraying the betrayer in this life.

How this shakes out in my writing career I don't know. There may be a whole new component to my career now, one I can't imagine at this moment.
Whatever it is I am open to it. I can lead if it is what I am supposed to do.
And no one is going to die because of it.

*Best guess at the spelling. A friend originally suggested it would be spelled Strahn. During the regression where I got the name the version I used upstream came to me.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Gratitude Monday --The UnCancer Update Edition

According to my surgeon, my body is completely recovered from the July 2014 cancer surgery.
This is good and for it I am grateful.
The CT scan showed no cancer anywhere and the CEA (blood test) was normal.
Both are good and for both results I am grateful.
I 'll continue with the blood tests every three months for a while yet and I need another CT scan next year. That's fine with me.
Best news is I don't need another colonscopy until 2018. Gratitude doesn't even scratch the surface of how I feel about that.

As to the title of this post, well, I no longer have cancer so calling it a cancer update is a misnomer.
Medical science refuses to call me cancer free. There's a five year wait for that.
I've been uncancered.
I remain uncancered.
It's maybe not the best word for it, but it fits.
I'll use it until I come up with something better or I get to call me officially cancer free.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday -- Better Than it Looks

This dish is specific to Khiva, Uzbekistan.
It's dilled noodles with lamb.  It is very good.
It really doesn't present well, but if you are ever there, have it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Gratitude Monday --Back From Uzbekistan Edition

I am so grateful to report that I finally got to see Tashkent, Samarkand, and part of the Silk Road.
I've wanted to go there for more than 30 years. Back in the eighties I read a travel magazine looking for places to visit and when I read about the Silk Road my heartbeat zipped up and nearly pounded through my chest.
This was a signal. It meant it was a place I needed to see. it's likely I had a past life, or part of one, there.
I got no obvious signal while there and that's okay. It isn't necessary.
What's important is I got to go to Uzbekistan and for it I am grateful.

The Registan, Samarkand

Monday, August 31, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Health Confirmation Day

Today I go for a CT scan.
It's being done out of an abundance of caution, nothing more. It's to check to ensure the cancer I had hasn't reared up and spread out.
I am convinced the cure has long since taken, but garnering physical evidence to back it up is never wrong.
I have to go to Red Deer for it and generally that's a pleasant drive.
The test is covered by health care and goes quickly.
It's all good.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Gratitude Monday--GadZukes!

The zucchini pictured below came to us courtesy Mike's mom. She had given us many of them this year including one that makes this entree look meager.
I am grateful for the zukes and for the bounty of the garden in general.
The zucchini pictured below measured 30 cm (12 in. in the Old Tongue). My husband carved it into a pair of fine boats for our eating pleasure.
We ate the one topped with cheese and I froze the other one for a later day when garden fresh is but a fond memory.

A regulation -sized zucchini was added for perspective.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gratitude Monday --Juiced

Our crabapple trees produced well this year. I'm certainly grateful for that.
I don't use them myself, but my husband does. Each year he picks them, and then boils and strains them for crabapple juice.
The juice goes on his morning oats.
I am grateful for the trees, for the use of their produce, and for my husband doing all the work. I would, but I don't have to.
I am especially grateful for that.

He was mostly done for the day when I took this picture.
It took him all day Sunday. He has another few gallons of apples to process.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Unbaked Edition

I wanted brownies, but it was too hot to bake.
Instead I began experimenting with rolled oats mixed into coconut oil with molassess, cane syrup, and coconut.
And I liked it.
It took out the craving nicely without heating up the house. In a hot, dry summer, that's important.
I was grateful for having done it and liked it enough to play around with the basic premise. I've added goji berries, raisins, peanut butter, vanilla, sea salt, walnuts, and pecans in various versions.
They're all good.
But the raw rolled oats took its toll. I  had half -expected it as years ago I used to soak oats overnight in cranberry juice for breakfast. I made various versions of it and loved it, but I got nasty stomach pains, fevers, I lost weight, and it wasn't good.
I thought it might be the raw oats so stopped eating it and the tummy troubles magically disappeared.
I'd hoped the oats would cook enough in the hot oil, but I was out of luck.
Giving up on the uncooked chocolate goodness was out of the question so I made a batch omitting the oats and cranking up the coconut.
It was very good and I was content for a short while.
Then it occurred to me to cook the oats and see what happens. So yesterday I made one serving size of porridge with goji berries and raisins and as it cooled I threw together the other constituents of the squares except peanut butter.
I am so grateful I did.
My Chocolate Porridge Squares are filling, satisfying, and they are really quite healthy.
I will have to make the peanut butter version soon.
Science demands it.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gratitude Monday --Mountain Feasts Edition

Jasper and Banff National Parks are a short, easy drive from my home in Rocky Mountain House.

Highway 11, a.k.a. The David Thompson Highway, passes through Rocky on its way to join Highway 93, a.k.a. the Columbia Icefields Parkway.
The parkway is the portion of Highway 93 through the two parks beginning at Jasper townsite and ending at the Trans-Canada near Lake Louise.
It's about a two hour drive west from my house to Saskatchewan Crossing. That's where #11 meets #93.
The mountains begin about an hour west of Rocky.
It's fairly easy to go out for a hike, or a drive.  I am so grateful I get to live here and that we have enough sense to get out and enjoy the mountains as we can.
This year we've been picnicking, too.
They are simple affairs: gluten free bread or crackers, cheese, sausage, water, Coca-Cola, but with the sight of the mountains and the spicing of the fresh air, they are feasts.

This photo taken by Mike on Saturday is at a scenic stop just south of Saskatchewan Crossing in Banff National Park.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday-- The Waiter

The noble whiskey jack  rests above picnickers awaiting its chance to swoop down and steal their lunch.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gratitude Monday --The Veggies- In-Law

We've been eating garden veggies lately and they are wonderful.
Both my husband's parents grow gardens and they are very good about sharing the bounty with us.
Recently we've had new potatoes from his mom along with zucchini, onions, even cucumber.
His dad has given us tomatoes and lettuce and for the last several years he has provided us with beets and carrots. He has supplied us with potatoes almost year-round.
Further, he keeps chickens and has kept us in eggs for the past several years.
We grow a few things here, too, and I am grateful for it. We have spices mostly along with a few vegetables, but it is the produce from the in-laws' gardens for which I am grateful.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Strange Encounter, A Wanting Memory

One of my earliest memories takes place in our barn. It was built when I was about two and I do recall one scene of it being built. It was a great place, 100 feet long north to south with the north end the closest to the house, 26 feet high at its peak with a huge hayloft.
But this memory takes place when I was three.
I was in the barn one afternoon. I went there often whether anyone else was there or not because it was a great place.
I am standing by the north end near a door to a room dad had intended to use for a chop bin. It had a window that was a simple opening like a door. It remained closed.
The boards on the barn wall are bare though in my mind I see whitewash. I think there was some partial paint, but I don't know.

What I do know is I was not alone.

Standing in front of me is a tall being. I get the feeling of female, but I honestly cannot say. She has high cheekbones, pale skin, and is wearing a white robe with wide sleeves. Out the sleeve end is a thin arm ending in slender, long fingers.
Her pale skin, and in my memory the white robe she wears, glows white gold.
She reaches past me, above my head. In her hand she holds a thick grease pencil, such as we used to mark the pigs that were ready for market.
She is drawing on the boards by the door to the never-used room.
 I am agitated. I do not want this.
The memory ends with me saying, "You don't have to do that. I'll remember."
I have the feeling I used to see this being often.
I have not seen her since that day and neither have I ever forgotten that scene.
And neither have I forgotten what she drew on the barn wall. I used to see it when I went in the barn. It scared me.

She drew a clown.

I was terrified to walk by it as I knew it would jump out and get me.
If I went in the barn with dad I made sure he was between the clown and me.
If I went in alone and dad was in the barn I edged as close as possible to the opposite side. I kept my  eyes on the clown.
If there was no one in the barn and I wanted to go up to the hayloft to sit in the sun, as I often did, I walked around outside to the south end of the barn where the stairs were. I would not go past that clown by myself.

He, I get the feeling of male from it, did not always appear.
I recall one day walking in the barn, seeing him, and wondering "Why doesn't daddy paint over that clown?"
I made up my mind to ask him to do it. I walked perhaps 30 feet to where dad was cleaning out a pig pen and forgot.
I'd remember from time to time, but never in time to ask him to do it.
I have photos of where I think the clown ought to be.
There is only bare board.

I told the family once about it and it was suggested it was a dream.
It happened.
It is real.
I have never forgotten the being who used to visit me when I was very young. One day she told me she could not come to me anymore. She left the clown for me to remember.
I wish I remembered what it meant.

I may have written about this before. If so, I apologize for the repeat.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Dis-Spirited Edition

I am very grateful I know how to get rid of attached entities.
I am grateful I know such things can happen and how to find them on me, but getting them off me is the best.
Spirit or entity attachment happens. I am not in any way talking about possession of any sort. That's a whole different kettle of butts. I haven't the training to go near it.
But attachment happens when a spirit, or entity if you will, sees a weak spot in your energy and latches on. It can happen for a variety of reasons  and manifest in a number of ways.

I'd been feeling out of sorts recently for no obvious reason. I was unable to think straight, lost the fun feeling of writing and creating, and more telling than anything, I was enjoying keeping the house dark.
For the latter, it's been hot here. One must close the windows, draw the blinds, close the curtains. Commonly keeping the bedroom curtains closed makes me claustrophobic. For the last few weeks it hasn't bothered me much. I was even liking it.
That's not good.
This, more than anything, made me think I had a hitchhiker.
On Saturday evening I put myself in a moderately relaxed state, called in the Archangel Michael because it is always good to have an expert handy, and scanned from the top down.
Unfortunately, the phone rang while I was working on some deep gray spots near my abdomen. It disturbed me enough I had to quit, but I had found a few extras on me and some entities hanging around.
For instance, my dad (or a spirit posing as him) was hanging around me. He kept saying, "There's something you don't know" and looking quite grim and concerned as he did it.
After trying to reason him away I finally told him, "Of course there is. The stuff I don't know far outweighs the stuff I do know. Whatever this is it is what I have decided to experience and I will have it."

Yesterday I finished the job. I unplugged the phone. My husband took a nap. I spent a bit more than an hour at it and I think I got shed of everyone.
Afterward I brought in light to cover and shield me and asked for protection.

I feel lighter, in both the not-dark sense, and the physically not as heavy sense.

It's a good feeling and for it I am grateful.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- God and Five Dollars Edition

I won a little bit of money in the Lotto 6/49 Saturday and for it I am grateful.
Here's what happened.
I asked the Universe one night late last week how to get some money. I haven't earned anything from writing for a while now so thought it would be a good idea to bring a bit in.
Generally, when I address the Universe I use God as way to sum it all up.  It's spoken shorthand for Universe, guides, helpers, angels, archangels, and all the beings who love me and work with me in the light of God for the highest good of all.
I figure if God's the CEO of the Universe, then using the word covers it all.
That explained, I asked the Universe for a way to do it and to give me a sign. I further asked the sign be obvious as I can be rather dull-witted at times. Then I went to sleep.
The next morning I awoke to a vehicle parked blocking our driveway. I went out to note the make, model, and license plate to call it in later.
The plate was TAK 649.
Take 6/49? 
It had to be a sign.
I bought a ticket and found out yesterday it won $5.
During my request I noted to God I would say thank you when I won so:
Thank you, God, for my lottery win.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday -- Inviting

We found this tree at Gooseberry Lake Provincial Park a few weeks back.  This branch is so inviting I'd happily go back just to stretch out along it for a few hours.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Out With The Old

I'm so grateful I've finally gotten around to throwing away documents and whatnot that I no longer need. Some of those papers I haven't needed in 30 years.
A few weeks ago I went through several containers to see what I no longer needed. I don't know why I hadn't done it earlier, and neither do I know what prompted me to finally get at it.
The important thing is I did it.
I had four grocery bags of old taxes, cards, and in one stellar example, all my hard copy book rejections.
Sending off birthday and Christmas cards to recycling can be difficult, but rejections?
Yeah, they were tough, too, but they absolutely had to go.
Keeping around nearly 170 examples of my failure serves no one, least of all me. I don't need a piece of paper to remind me a book did not come out.
In other glorious examples I found my camera insurance from 1985. It cost me $50 a year. Car insurance from the same era was $199.
I had tax returns and gas receipts from the eighties taking up space in my house and by extension, in my life.
They are shredded and ready to take away to recycling.
And finally, 14 years after leaving the newspaper, I disposed of my notebooks. I'd been meaning to do it for several years and never got to it.
Yesterday I did.
The emotional impact of getting rid of the papers and the energy they held from the era of their use hasn't settled on me yet.
I expect I need a bit of time and so I will wait, but for now I have room in my home.
The old is out. That means there's room for the new, and for this change I am grateful.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday -- A Weird Effect

We spent Canada Day in Banff National Park doing a few hikes and then having a picnic at the end of a side road at the top of Bow Pass.
There's a hike to do that takes a person up the peak at the center of the photo. 
If you look above the tree line you can see a snow pack.
Our picnic spot.

I point this out because Mike hiked up there while I waited.
I took the following pic of him which, by some oddness, looks like I am shooting downward.
It's weird, but I like it.
If anyone has an explanation I am all ears.

Please click to enlarge the photos.

I shot up, but it looks down.     

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- High Test

Ptarmigan Cirque Trail, Kananaskis, Alberta.
I'm grateful on  many fronts today.
The Ptarmigan Cirque Trail in Kananaskis is one of my benchmarks. I haven't done it in years, but wanted to so as to see how I am doing.
It's not that long a hike, but it is in the mountains and it is up.

The first time Mike and I did this hike, about 23 if not 25 years ago, it took me two hours.
About 15 years ago or so the same climb took me half an hour.
On Saturday it took me just under an hour. For the record it was nearly +30C (86F) during our hike. Later, when we had lunch, it was +31C.

It was a good hike and I am pleased with how quickly I did it.
I rested quite a bit. At one point during the climb I sat in the shade while Mike went to a nearby viewpoint. I had my head in my hands when a nice young man coming down the trail asked me how I was.
I respond I was good, thanks, and how was he before realizing why he was asking.
I expect I looked as worn as I felt.
He asked if I had water, did I need water, was I sure I was all right?
I am grateful for this and for knowing a stranger was willing to give me his water if I needed it.

The trail goes through a mountain stream, twice. I splashed refreshing mountain water on my face and even drank a bit. I am grateful it was there.

We had a fine picnic later on in a shaded spot by a creek. It was relaxing.

Afterward we went to the rock glacier where Mike set up a chair and waited for pikas while I set a chair under a tree. I'd been wanting to sit quietly under a tree for quite some time. It was wonderful.

For all of this I am grateful.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- A Good Trip For The Soul

We've gotten out and about several times in the past few weeks. I am grateful for that. It's good to use the time when you have it.
We've usually gone west into the mountains, but on Saturday we went east, to the prairie.
It was a wonderful change. It had been years since we were out that way and it is good for the soul to see the open spaces.
We went to Gooseberry Lake Provincial Park north of Consort and looked around.
It was peaceful, and beautiful and surprisingly quiet given there was a rodeo going on across the road.
I took plenty of photos, mostly of the American avocets along the lakeshore.
It was a long day, but a good one. And for it I am grateful.

American avocet searching for food at Gooseberry Lake

Friday, June 19, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday-- A Grizzly Breakfast

WolfGriz 031

This fine looking fellow was spotted along Hwy. 11 early Saturday morning. He was rooting around for food in the ditch west of Nordegg near Abraham Lake.

Click, enlarge, enjoy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How About A Look At Ram Falls?

Ram Falls is about a 70 mile drive from Rocky, yet still within Clearwater County.  The y are found along  the Forestry Trunk Road and it makes for a lovely drive. Here's a quick look at the setting and the falls.

Please enjoy.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Mountain Lunch

We had lunch in Golden, B.C. on Saturday.  The setting was wonderful.
We made the trip to the see the wolves at the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre.
Afterward we had a picnic behind the Visitor Centre in Golden.
It was a lovely spot and I was even able to get a really good cup of coffee there as they had Kicking Horse Coffee.  It is a good coffee, and it's made not far down the road from there.

Mike enjoying lunch in a grand setting.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday-- HooDoo You Do?

Below are photos of the hoodoos on HooDoo Creek as promised.

HoodDooHike 007
The two HooDoos together in the morning light.

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The larger hoodoo at a different angle and in the early afternoon.

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Same big hoodoo, different angle and in silhouette.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Morning Wrendition

The wrens have been busy building. And sometimes they sing.
I got this video early last week. I put it on YouTube earlier today and let the nice people there fix the lighting for me.

I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Grizzly Seeking Breakfast

On one of our recent drives we saw a young Grizzly bear digging for breakfast in the ditch.
We took many photos and a few videos of his hard work.

He was in the far ditch. Any traffic had to go past us and, since I don't know how to edit those passes stay in.

I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- My Goat Legs Edition

I've really earned my goat legs this spring, and for it I am grateful.
What that means is I've done some hiking in the mountains and done it reasonably well.
On Saturday we did a hike out west called HooDoo Creek. It involves walking up the mostly dry and very rocky stream bed of a creek. About a km or so up the stream appears. That means crisscrossing it for the best footing.
Just past the one km mark there are some hoodoos. I will post pics another day.
Along with being in the mountains this hike has a 400 m elevation gain and it is gained through a steady climb. I stopped to rest every 50 to 100 metres. I've learned that as soon as I hear the partridge drumming it is time to rest so the blood can stop pounding in my ears.
I didn't go the whole way. I stopped about 200 m short of the 2.4 km end. There one can scramble up a fair ways to some  caves.
Mike went, I rested.
As far as I am concerned not only do I have my goat legs for the year this hike earned me a spare.
Once we were back down we drove a bit up the road, pulled out to a place near some trees, and enjoyed a picnic.
It was one of our best days ever and for it I am grateful.
HoodDooHike 024

If you look at the bottom of the pic just left of the stream you'll notice a narrow ledge. It's just wide enough for a foot. It was a very exciting part of the hike.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday --Grousing About

On our Sunday drive last week we saw a ruffed grouse.

He crossed the road in front of us so fast we barely had time to get photos and not time at all why he was doing it.

FTR YaHaTinda 021

Here's a closer view:
Ruffed Grouse

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Details Still Sketchy

But I like to think I am improving.

I took a sketchbook along on our recent hike in the West Country. I sat in the warm sun and  did a very quick preliminary sketch of what I saw.  Several days later I started work on it.
A few days after that I decided to call it done.

Drawing is not my thing, but I see I am learning and am getting better at it. I may not get much better than this, but it doesn't matter.

I am enjoying myself, and expressing myself artistically. Good, bad, or indifferent sketching is stretching.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Gratitude Monday - The Wrens Are Here

Our faithful wren couple returned a little while ago and have consented to build in the bird house on the back deck.
We are both very grateful they've come back.
They sing, they cuss, and they work.
It is glorious.
These photos were taken yesterday morning as they took turns waiting on the clothes trees.
I had to shoot through the window on the screen door so as not to disturb them.

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WrenMorning 011

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WrenMorning 001

Friday, May 29, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Poetic Memory Edition

Photo of Jocelyn II, courtesy Terry Utas
I grew up on a farm and it was pretty damned good. I am grateful for all I got to do and for the great memories of it.
Here's a poem that sorts it out better than a whole whack of description ever  could.


I am an old woman now.
I sit in the sun
and I remember.

I remember how the sun felt on my face
when I was young.
It feels the same today.

I sat under trees
or in them.
I climbed on the combine
and jumped off into the waiting arms of nothing.

I hung from the swingset by my knees for a
fresher view of the world.
And I threw rocks in the creek.

I rode my bike
and sometimes took it apart for fun.
I slept in freshly ploughed dirt
and swam in mud puddles.

I am an old woman now.
I sit in the sun and remember.
And I smile.


Jocelyn is my middle name.  When I was very young we had a jersey cow that I named Jocelyn. Using the name for the poem served as an anchor.
Several years cousin Terry offered her internet circle the chance to name the new ranch calves and I had the honour of naming the above calf Jocelyn.

As for being an old woman, I am not even close. That's straight up poetic licence, that is.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- A Grizzly Sight

We went for a drive to Jasper on Saturday. We left the house early, before 6:30 a.m., with the idea we'd see more wildlife that way.
We were not disappointed.
About 45 minutes into the trip we were treated to the sight of a young grizzly bear digging for roots in the ditch.
We took many photos and a few videos.
This video was done by my husband.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday -- Paros Shore

We took a morning walk on Paros and were treated to this sight.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- A New, Democratic Look For Alberta

Albertans went to the polls last week and turfed out the Progressive Conservative party. For this great change I am grateful.
The PCs had been in power since 1971. They were arrogant, greedy, wasteful, and had an honest belief --I am sure--that they governed by Divine Right.
The new premier completely, utterly and totally misread the public.
He introduced a budget that added taxes to regular folks while letting big business off the hook. He called an election one year before provincial law said he was supposed to.
He was condescending to the NDP leader during a debate. After misrepresenting what her party was going to do she corrected him. He then mansplained to her why she was wrong in correcting him and added, "I know math is difficult."
It all added up to the party being trounced and the NDPers getting a majority.
I didn't think the New Democratic Party would win. I am grateful to be wrong.
It's not so much that I am an NDPer, it's that I wanted solid change and that's the party to bring it.
It's going to be interesting here for quite some time.
I am grateful for that, too.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Say What?

These cards are for people who don't know what to say to someone with cancer. If you read the link, you'll discover they were designed by a woman whose friends dropped away because they didn't know what to say to her, or said the wrong thing.

I get that people are scared of  stuffing a foot in their mouths and chowing down. I also get that one might not have a clue what to say to a person with cancer, or any other disease or infirmity that makes regular healthy humans want to turn tail and run.

I understand. I empathize.
Now get over it.
It could be you someday. If so, then what would you like your friends and family to do?

The above is harsh, but I don't care. Here's why:
I've had conversations with people who cannot respond be it properly or at all. I saw in their eyes and body language how happy they were I'd spoken with them anyway.

Back in the late 1980s I worked at the daily newspaper in Ft. St. John in northeastern B.C. Once a month I went to the seniors' lodge to take photos of the high games scorers in foosball (or something like it) for the month.
One fellow, Lee Olson, often won. He'd had a stroke that left his left arm useless at his side, but otherwise was physically okay. But it had affected a part of his brain leaving him able to carry on all kinds of conversations, but only with swear words.
He seemed like a warm, kind, happy man. Whenever he saw me he'd have a big smile on his face. He'd always come over to say hello with a long, drawn out,  "Aaaa, shit. Jesus Christ."
His face got crinkly, his eyes shone, and he would curse and cuss and swear all in a pleasant conversational tone.
On occasion I'd sit with him a moment. I asked a few questions. I assumed he was asking me some and used logic to determine what they might be.
In their own way the conversations were enjoyable and they were a great stretch  especially as I normally despise small talk.

It was good practice for later. Several years ago here in Rocky a woman who'd been in the air force with my mother during the Second World War war had a stroke or the like and was in the hospital.
I stopped in to see her one day. She was unable to talk, but her eyes lit up when she saw me. Her head moved and her mouth opened and I believe she was trying to talk.
I reasoned out the kinds of things she might want to know and told her.
She seemed happy and engaged in the conversation, and probably grateful for the visit.

If you don't know what to say to someone put yourself in their place and give it some thought.
What did you talk about before the disease? What would you want to hear?

Here a few ideas to get you started.

How about those playoffs/footballers/ mud wrestlers?
Did you hear what____did?
Did you catch last night's episode of ___?
Let's go for a drive/walk/sit outside.
Up for a movie?
I'll take the kids for the day.
I'm here to look after things while you nap.
Can you eat? I brought chocolate/nachos/pizza.
You want peace and quiet? I'll see to it.
Everything at the office is going to hell without you.

In short have as normal a conversation as is possible under the given circumstances.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vote For Change, Or Vote For a Change

Today is election day in Alberta. We'll get either a new, or a renewed, provincial government.
But whatever happens you have a say in it.
Who you vote for is your business.
We're allowed to not vote here so not voting is not a gesture of protest no matter how you try to tart it up to yourself.
If you are among the thousands who don't normally bother casting a ballot, do so this time.
Whether you are voting for change, or just voting for a change, get out and vote.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gratitude Monday-- Bastard? What Bastard?

I have what I have come to call an interesting ear.
The auditory canal in my right ear is the wrong shape. Instead of a gentle curve it has some sharp angles. For as annoying as that can be I have to say I am grateful for it.
Here's why:
Because of this words get in, mix around, and come through far different from the innocent intentions of the speaker.
For example, back in the eighties I was walking though the downtown Edmonton Hudson's Bay Store on my way back to work.  The store had the radio on to a station that offered a contest with a chance to win one of ten Air Canada trips to the Neutral Zone.

A few years later there was a devastating hurricane on a Caribbean Island. Donations were coming in from all over and I heard it announced on the radio that Edmonton had been so generous it was sending its own planeload.
I shook my head. I could not for the life understand what possible good a planeload of Dalmatians was going to be.

One of my early hearing hits happened in 1969 in Grimshaw, in Northern Alberta. It was July,  family reunion time. Cousin Wayne, whose family hosted that year, our cousin Becky, and  I went to the tunnels for a Sunday morning smoke. The tunnels ran at an angle under a street near the downtown, were at least five feet high,  and came complete with a bit of mud and wet and rocks. One side opened near a church.
We were busy lighting up when Wayne said, "There's the Pastor."
It fell on my right ear and I asked, "Bastard? What bastard?"

Over the years I've adjusted and even though I hear odd things still, they rarely match the fun I had when the ear canal was young. Until Saturday when my husband saw goji berries in Superstore and asked if I wanted any grouchy faeries.

Well, if can pack them in a plane full of Dalmatians headed to the Neutral Zone, why not? But we'll need to be careful. I've heard they can be real bastards.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday --Spring Day in Estonia

BalticOly 059

It's Kevadpuha*, that is Spring Day, in Estonia. In honour of it the above is a photo taken in a church yard there two years ago.
* The "u" in Kevadpuha requires umlauts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

An Alien Concept

I've made mention of my thinkythoughts from time to time here. At times they take over and I have to sit and let them have their way with me.
This has been happening with more frequency lately. Mostly they are about space, infinity, and are other worlds inhabited?
I'll tackle the last one first: of course they are.

This isn't about little green men or greys who abduct and experiment on humans, or reptiods who harvest us for their meals, or any other popular belief or convention on the subject.
It is about simple fact as I see it.

It's not like I have proof, but what I do have is my own version of logic and it is based on infinity.
If you've ever stopped a moment to consider what is beyond the known solar system, you'll know where I am going with this.
Space is infinite. It cannot end and neither can it begin as both require definite points. To help my puny human mind grasp this I've had to designate a definite point. I chose Earth.
No matter which direction we leave from we can travel forever simply because it cannot end.
Even if we got to the end of our galaxy we go into another one, and so on.
Let's say the end of the galaxies is a great big wall we can't get past.
What's the other side of it?
That's fine, but what is nothing and for how long does it go on?

It's overwhelming, dizzying even, to consider, so we give ourselves a galaxy or so to contend with and don't think much beyond it.
It makes sleeping at night easier.

This brings us to time. Where did it begin, how does it end? Can it?
So we have infinity: there has always been and there always will be.
Now we have Earth and all its creatures including us.
In vast unending reaches of time and space how can we be alone?
How can only one world out of endless possible worlds be the only one inhabited by intelligent life, or any life for that matter?
It may be easier to believe this, and if you do then good for you. Do as you need to live your life as you see fit.

This brings up God, for those who swing that way. It is often said that God is all powerful, is in charge of everything, and creates everything. God is purportedly unlimited.
If so, then how can we say the Earth is all there is? That limits God.
Further, we see ourselves as His best creation.
That is both arrogant and frankly, I would think from God's perspective, a little insulting.

The inhabitants of Planet Whatever may not be visiting us. It doesn't mean they don't exist, it means they don't visit.
Good for them.
If they do stop by, that's great.
If they choose to keep themselves hidden, who are we to say they are wrong?

Whatever is the case I say they exist.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Thought

Embrace the weird that makes your heart ring.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Ask and Ye Shall Receive Edition or: Oh, My Hat

I decided the other day I needed a conical hat. I needed it to help me get in character and get back into the manuscript I am editing.
I finished the first draft of it last June. It went down a few different paths, one as far as chapter 14, but I eventually found the story I was to tell and it got done.
It sat for several months.  I wrote something else that is now simmering on a mental back burner as I fix this one up.
But back to the hat.
I often have a prop or two around when writing to help me focus. I bought cowboy boots for the vampire western, a fedora for the story of the man who went to the wrong side of heaven and had to do God's dirty work to get a new life, and for this story I made myself a pine staff and took up drawing.
It wasn't quite enough. I wanted the style of hat commonly associated with witches.
I said so on Facebook on Friday. There was some loose talk of a cousin maybe making me one. She'd already sent me an infinity scarf which helped me with the first draft of this story ( thanks again, Terry) so she'd already helped in a big way.
I thought I might check the dollar stores as one never knows what one may find on a shelf. Meantime, my husband offered to make me one.
As there were none on the shelves Mike did make the hat for me.  Black construction paper,  a leg from a pair of pants that my once belonged to my dad later worn by Mike, and the cheap hat I bought in Australia in the early nineties.
Mike rolled up the paper, cut it down several times, glued on the pants leg and pinned it all to the hat.
It is wonderful, and for it all I am grateful.
It has a nice weight to it, if a bit heavy, but it is a good place to store my thinky thoughts while rewriting.
Because no description can ever do it justice:
Hat with infinity scarf.

A character photo, this time with reading glasses and staff.

Please click to enlarge photos for the full glory.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday - The Wild, Gruff Wind

The wind, blustering and slapping through the Siffleur Valley.

It was good to be out in the wild again. I spent Earth Day with a friend, and with the Earth.
We looked for goats and a cabin, and we spent time with the trees in the wild, gruff wind.
It slapped and ground a layer of civilization off me, one that had applied itself while I wasn't paying attention.
I felt smoother afterward.  Refreshed. Wilder.
It reminded me how I spent most of my time outdoors when I was a child. Society, civilization, being an adult and being housebroken covered the wild inside with a thick dull veneer of getting along by being a little less.
The layer is wearing away with the help of the wild, gruff wind.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To Talk About That Weird Stuff

There are plenty of places to talk about that weird stuff.
This is one of them.

Years ago when I moved to Rocky things started happening. To lead in, the day I moved in to my apartment, Wednesday Nov. 30, 1988, my mother said, "Maybe you'll put down roots here."
Possibly. Or simply her desire that at age 30 I would stay in one place rather than keep moving from newspaper to newspaper.
Either way,  it is what occurred and I am pleased as all get out over it.
Now, back to the weird.

Perhaps it was because I became comfortable here and maybe on some level I knew I'd stay, but shortly after settling in the spiritual side of life asserted itself.
When I went to bed I'd lace my hands together over my lower rib cage.
It  was comfortable. Physically it still is.
But then, as I fell closer to sleep I felt my legs rise. I was aware of them on the bed and under the covers where they belonged, and yet they lifted in the air.
As this happened my hands locked.
The bedroom light was on. In real life it was not, but I was aware of the room being fully lit and that's how I recall it.
This happened for several months. Having my hands locked together bothered me, but the rising legs were fine. In fact, I would forget about it during the day and only when I laced my hands together at night did I remember.
Eventually I did remember and looked forward to the rising with both joy and trepidation.
They got quite high. At some points there were straight up. Then I'd fall asleep.
This lasted most of the first year I lived in Rocky,
I believe now it was my guides or angels slowly introducing me to a spiritual awakening, making sure I was okay with it.
It's a good way to proceed.
For years I'd lace my hands together when resting then immediately unlace them, remembering how upsetting it is to me to have them locked.
I can do that now. I've finally gotten past it, but what I haven't gotten past is how great it felt to have my legs rise out of my body.
That I miss.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Why Not Vote?

So you're not voting in the May 5 provincial election. Well, aren't you a special angel?
It's your right to sit on your ass and let total strangers who go out to vote decide your government for you. And whatever happens it is not your fault, you didn't vote for the greedy bastards.

Like I said, it is your right and you have every right to exercise the right that good men and women fought and died securing for you. We can not vote here without fear. I am grateful for that.

We can fearlessly sit on our asses while others make decisions for us. I am grateful, as I said, and good on you for exercising that side of it, but don't expect me to applaud it, and don't whine to me about the government afterward.
Why not?
Because you also have the right to vote for whomever you damn well please. If you can't be bothered to do it, then shut the fuck up. Suck it up and go on, whiner. I have no time for you.
Why not vote?
Because you can.
Why not vote instead?
You can do that, too, and no matter the result you have every right to complain about the outcome.