Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What Can I Say

It's just that the sky is so darn pretty.
What a beautiful day it was.
A day for walking!
I am happier out there on a fairweather day than anywhere or anytime else.

Click pics to enlarge.
It's the little things. 
Like the way these dry stems absorb the sun's heat and melt the snow around them:

Like my first sighting of a slough beside the road:

Or the way the sign on this tree tells hunters and trespassers, Don't:

And that I got to wear a spring jacket (and no ski pants) for the first time this year:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Finding the Funny

“You can’t throw that away!” she said to me, wiping her tears.

I had, just the day before, finished reading through a journal from when I was 18. It had taken me a long time because — 18 again? No thanks — but finally I’d seen it all and decided what, if anything, was worth keeping. The binder containing the rest of the lined looseleaf covered with ink was slipped into a big black plastic bag destined for the fire bowl I’m about to light up any day now.

My high school friend Bev came over and we sipped herbal tea, talked, ate Mary Psovsky’s perogies for supper, talked, drank wine, and talked. In the course of the day I remembered something in the journal about a situation with a mutual friend, and retrieved the binder for Bev’s entertainment.

I flipped through and read several passages aloud.
We laughed so hard, we cried.
It was high drama, man!

"So ... are you going to leave your Christmas balls up all summer?"

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Animals are About

The blessings of a fresh snowfall are the animal tracks plainly visible the next day.
There is a lot of wildlife around our yard, but we don't see all the activity.
It was a glorious walk, I can tell you.

The rabbit

Marks of a bird's wings when it swooped in and caught something? A rodent?
I did hear an owl the other evening. 

The prairie chicken that makes its way ever-so-slowly around the yard and house.

All this and more, just along our driveway.
Then down the road:

Probably deer.

Sunday morning:
I knew I was forgetting something. The vehicle tracks and my old dog, who now lies in the road waiting for me to turn and walk back.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Me & Jane Fonda

"For feminists, a belief system is the enemy, not men."

"As the Indian sage Kristnamurti said, 'You think you are thinking your thoughts, you are not; you are thinking the culture’s thoughts.' "

These are two quotes from a piece written by Jane Fonda about how she came to understand feminism rather than assuming it was a distraction from the "real" problems of the world. Good article, Jane. 

Me, I became a feminist on the day I looked around at the boys in my Grade 6 class and thought, "Them, superior to me? I think not!"

Friday, March 25, 2016

Barbershop at Daryl's House

We saw/heard JohnnySwim on TV a while ago and liked what they did there.

They're guests on Live from Daryl's House, or so I discovered this morning.

But first, there's a great little barbershop welcome.
If you like barbershop
(I do. I'd kill to sing in a quartette)
Listen to this:

Joan, I wouldn't have said Mom was really a fan, but she was only 21 or so and young women and girls were pretty excited about the Beatles being on Ed Sullivan. We'll have to ask Dad if Mom actually liked their music or anything else about them, for that matter. I doubt it!

Beautful hoarfrost all around the yard this morning.

Winter's goodbye kiss to Spring.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Soul Searching

I always pictured the soul as looking like a black piston

- must look up pistons, see if they look the way i think -

Nope, they don't. So how, then?

I imagined it as this solid black cylindrical object that stands upright in the centre of your thorax. Like a black candle about one-and-a-half inch in diameter and six inches high.

Where I got that idea, who knows.

So I thought I'd look at images of souls, to see how other people imagine them.



Here's a kinda nice one.

Ha Ha. A blog to add to the list below:
Nowhere do I see an image of the human soul the way I, as a child, imagined it.
Where did this imagined image come from? Words do provoke images, sure, but ...
Oh and also, the soul seemed to me a relatively heavy object.

Very like this! Only closed at the top, and black, and smooth:

Here's something alittle different:
Or how about this:
And that is enough soul-searching for one day. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Our Boy Duckster

Ducky was snuggled into my left arm for a good cuddle. I thought about how affectionate he is and how happy and excited when I come home at the end of the day.
     I thought about the way dogs love people, and then I thought about the way we re-home dogs as if their feelings or attachments don't exist or, if they do, as if they are of little to no importance. It's something we rarely consider when we play god with a dog.
     What must it be like for pets to be torn from people and sometimes other animals they love and plopped into homes with new people?
     We know they appear to transfer their affections quite easily, as if they've forgotten all about their previous owner. But is that really the case? Or do they grieve, and wonder why, and struggle to adjust, and fear the next great upheaval? We're told that dogs live in the present moment, and I'm sure they do to a great extent, but I'll wager there's more to them than that, too.

     Scott has had Ducky to the vet again, and more medications came home, but Ducky is still scratching to beat 60. Yesterday he scratched above an eye until he drew blood. We are beyond puzzled. Scott has been doing internet research for months, trying to find home remedies for relief of symptoms, and so on.
    The vet insists Ducky doesn't have a mite or parasite, that he is allergic to something. But what? I took away a fluffy blanket I gave him in the fall; maybe there's something in it that he reacts to. He is eating all different food now; lots more real meat, less commercial crap.
     Maggie the Librarian says she had a cat that was allergic to flea bites. One bite and it drove the cat crazy. There have been no fleas seen here, but around the time Ducky started scratching, I had a couple bites on my right arm that could've been flea bites; according to the internet, that's what they looked and itched like. It was well past mosquito season. Scott thinks it a coincidence and discounts it. I wonder.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rita & Joni

Rita Wilson has put out an album containing a tribute to Joni Mitchell.
I didn't know much about Ms Wilson other than that she's an actor and is married to Tom Hanks.
I followed the link to listen to the song, half-expecting not to be impressed.
However, the lady has a lovely voice and sings a lovely song to Joni, so I was very pleasantly surprised.
 If you're an admirer of Joni's music, you'll recognize all the references to Joni's songs.
Anyhoo, here you go:

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Bird a Day

That's how dangerous our north-facing windows are.
Each day I hear a feathered friend hit the living room window.
Usually they bounce off and fly up into the oak trees, but not always, not in the past three days.
Two redpolls lie dead out there right now, and this little fluffball sat on the front step snowbank for quite a while this morning. I had begun to think about how to go about rescue & repair, but finally it was gone when I looked again.

Redpoll; picture taken through dining room window.

For years I kept "work" clothes, "paint" clothes, in a small pile in the closet. Finally I threw them out because they never got worn. Now I need them to prime and paint the birdsaver "beam" but I'm not a tidy painter and don't want to ruin my jeans. Isn't that always the way; isn't that the reason we hang onto things that we rarely use, that clutter our spaces.

Lorna, thanks for posting this link!
I was just about to sit down to work, but couldn't tear myself away and watched the whole thing.
Tribute to Paul McCartney:
I watched that first Ed Sullivan show the Beatles were on, but not closely. Mom was excited about it and got my little sister Karen and me out of bed to see them (I was about four and Karen was two). I was expecting real beetles to be singing and playing though, so was disappointed and bored, as musical acts were of no interest to me.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


When we arrived at Karen's, we could smell fresh bread the moment we opened the front door.
She had made about a dozen loaves.
I buttered and had two slices down my neck before she got my cup of coffee made.
She had also baked a banana-chiffon cake, and invited us for a spaghetti supper.

I noticed a cute little loaf of bread cooling alongside the others and exclaimed over it. (Apparently I am still a little girl and it was just the right size.)
Turns out she made it for church. It's what they use for communion, instead of wafers.

Joan, on a friend's FB page I saw a picture of the Kelowna landscape and could just about feel it. I actually wished I was there. Who knew! Stranger things have happened.

Someone had driven across the ice on Margo Lake that morning. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Emil and I sat side by side on the couch last night. The lamps were on, the TV was not, and we chatted.
I asked him if he liked that I was leaving the string of Christmas bulbs up all year. Indeed, he likes that.

This week I had coffee with a friend  from 'way back in the day' and the first or second thing I said was probably "OK catch me up on the last 30 years of your life — in the next half-hour."

Trying to tell someone who's never met him what Emil is like is not that easy. Which made me think that showing how he gets around the house is one way.

Usually I respond to each comment as I see it, but alas this efficient habit has fallen to the wayside lately. You will have to forgive me. I will reply when I think of it now, instead of going back to find it. Every one of your comments is like receiving a little gem, though, I have to tell you. Don't think it isn't.

When I'm a millionaire with a housekeeper, I will have the walls wiped down everywhere Emil has left his handprints.

WWW, those bowls and the stand are from Princess House, which my sister Karen used to sell. The company has gone out of business now. They are intended for serving crackers and dips if I remember correctly. I've never used them for that. I've never actually used them much at all. Right now they sit by the porch door with (in the top bowl) an opened roll of five-flavours Lifesavers that we don't touch, and in the middle bowl I've dumped a bag of those chocolate Rolo candies. The third is empty. Candies are expensive! and not good for you anyway.

I have to look up Sheila's Brush now.

Lori, we've got a big yard -- a farmyard -- and there's dog shit all over the place here too. It's why I say that after our two dogs are no more, I don't want another one. (Though last night I caught myself dreaming about the blue heeler I'd prefer if we were looking for a farm dog.)

Lorna, re the neck things, maybe I need to accept that the condition is something that must be lived with, not something that can be treated and healed. Like a diagnosis of bi-polar. After 27 years ... I give up? But am still going to get wild raspberry leaves and make tea with them every day ... can't hurt. They are a hormone balancer and that may be the bottom line here.
So I say I'm giving up,  but really I'm not.
Where do I get this inexhaustible fund of hope?

When Everett moved out, he left behind this huge folder containing his Art 30 homework. It's been between the wall and my desk for some years. I need something to protect the archived newspapers that I'm carrying home from the office, so the folder has been called into service.
First it had to be emptied, and I discovered several interesting pieces. Joan, I can imagine him developing serious skills. Here's perhaps a self-caricature done when he was in Grade 12.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Emil on the Move

When Emil comes to our place, he parks his elbow crutches outside on the step railing and makes his way into the house using his hands to steady himself.
He sits in the porch to remove his boots and jacket, and then walks around the house in his sock feet. Some of the time he wears his braces and shoes, but tonight he is taking a break from them after wearing them all day.
He's decided to call his dad in St. Albert and see if he's coming out for the Easter weekend. Emil likes to be alone when he's on the phone so is making his way from the living room to the bedroom.

When he gets to the bedroom, he immediately closes the door.

Sounds like Gord won't make it for Easter, but is considering coming out a week or two later.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Thing

Scott has been digging snow away from the culvert down the road so that the meltwater can run away off the adjacent field. It is a raging skinny river right now.

The north side of the culvert
The south side of the culvert
And down the ditch alongside the road goes the runoff.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Drink wine, don't drink wine.
Eat enough, don't eat enough.
Get enough sleep, don't get enough sleep.
Watch your posture or don't.
Do hatha yoga regularly or don't.
Either way, if you're me you'll still get these EFFIN NECK THINGS half-a-dozen times a month.
So drink and eat what you want, when you want. Sleep or don't. Sit straight or don't. Stretch or don't.
Dammit. I am sick of trying to figure it out, and failing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

An Embarrassment of Candle Riches

After my little candle-holding buddy arrived, I needed more beeswax tealites.
You can't find them (pure beeswax ones) at the local store, but Cathy and Roger make them at their honey farm in Manitoba so I put in an order. I asked for a dozen of their lotus candles too. Before long, there was a parcel card in the box at the post office and I was opening up the most lusciously scented package there ever could be.

On the coffee table in front of the living room window

It came as a slight shock that it has already been a year since Shelly and I made our road trip to their place. When did months get so short?

The candles are not tucked away in a closet. They are out where I can see them and, when very fortunate, catch a whiff of them. I set the new bunch next to the ones already gracing our home. Such variety! You aren't seeing the half of it, here.

Next to the kitchen table

Now, where is that page I found about someone else's visit to Cathy and Roger's? Have I posted it here before? That's the trouble with longterm blogging. You are bound to repeat yourself and forget what's what.

Anyway, lovable as they are, I'm sure Cathy and Roger constantly have friends coming and going, just as I have done throughout the years. "Well, we are in the middle," Rog says, talking about mutual friends coming from the other direction.

Ah, here it is:

And here's a revisit of our trip a year ago.:

Seems like just this past winter, not the one before. I won't print yet another cliché about time flying, but holy hanna!

Late Afternoon

The sky. What an incredible thing it is.
Ever changing, ever beautiful, ever alive.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Me and Eric Idle

I've discovered Eric Idle's blog and can't look away. He's a good writer and a funny person and those two together, well ... what's a girl to do!

He's a prolific writer, right now on tour with John Cleese in Australia. It's easy to fall behind in the reading, but no matter ... I tell myself ... the writing will be there when I get back.

Then we had two great dinners together, one at Kailis Bros in Leederville, and the other at the beautiful Matilda Bay Restaurant, which overlooks the water, during which Jupiter rose huge and golden as we dined. I always find the Universe comforting when humanity seems frustrating. –Eric Idle

If I don’t look on the bright side who the hell should? I always say I’m an optimist in the morning and a pessimist at night. –Eric Idle

The link to his blog is here on the page, where my "bookmarks" are listed.
And you can click on this picture to go see what the man has to say.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

It's the Weekend

The planet Jupiter glows, dangling in the dark sky ahead as I make my way home. The front seat beside me is full; my shoulder bag, two bottles of red wine, a big box of coffee beans and a soft parcel, the latter two picked up at the post office in the afternoon. The back seat too is full, of things I mean to get rid of and haven’t yet: books, clothing, sundry. On the floor are two 10-litre jugs of water; always have three days worth of drinking water on hand, they say, in case of a storm or something. I try.

A bagful of goodies
Still half a mile from our yard, I can see lights moving outside our back step. Scott is there with the tractor, pushing snow. I turn in and two big dogs meet my car; they have followed the tractor over from the other place. The ponderous machine holds back out of the way while I drive right up to the step, and then it heads out the driveway and down the road. The dogs stay a few minutes to see what’s what and to be petted before, one at a time, they disappear.
A rainbow of bright tops
I carry in my bag and the wine, and let our own dogs out. It’s icy and I pick my way carefully between car and porch. A second trip gets the coffee and parcel in. A third sees the water jugs set on the snow near the car, and then I back the car off the snow-buried lawn and park it for the night. The grid road calls me out and down the driveway before I return to the house, walking right past the water jugs in its shadow. It’s not till my coat and ski pants are hung up and my boots are off that I realize the jugs are still outside. I pull on a pair of boots and a jacket and go get them.
And now I can relax. The shoulder bag and parcel go to the office. The coffee and wine go to the kitchen. The water jugs are lined up next to the kitchen door. I tear off my bra and put on my pyjamas. It’s been a long day, a 10-hour one, and now there’s nothing more that needs to be done. I ate a bun with a slice of ham at the office when we were still working at suppertime, so I’m not hungry yet, even though it’s already eight o’clock. I pour myself a glass of that wine.

Love this necklace
Ahhhh. Meryl Streep is in a movie on TV. If she really does all her own singing and playing in that movie, I'm impressed. And then there is loot, to boot ... before going to bed, I tackle the parcel Joan sent. I'm a wee girl at Christmas and have held myself off this long, and now ... voila! jewellery and clothes and a pretty bag, just what delights this wee girl. How did zat seeester know?
Thanks Joan. You arrr zee besta!

And this is barely the half of it. What fun I'm having, admiring it all.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Great Root Bear Goes for a Walk

The ice and snow are melting fast.
One last chance to admire the whipped white sugar butter snow
I still have to wear my parka.

Itchy Dog

Gawd, I love Saturday mornings. Sleeping till I feel like getting up. Reading till I feel like doing something else. Sipping on my coffee, not hurrying to eat breakfast, not getting out of my housecoat so I can go to town. Sigh. Every morning should be Saturday morning. Especially when the sun is shining into the windows like it is today.
It’s just me and The Duck home. He’s curled up on a fluffy blanket in a cosy corner beside my desk here. After two rounds of antibiotics and antihistamines, during which he virtually stopped scratching, he is back at it again. So we don’t know what the hell is going on. 
It's probably going to require another ridiculously expensive trip to the vet (an hour or two from here), which may not solve the problem any better than the first trip did, right? Or so logic tells me, because whatever the vet could do this second time, he sure as hell didn’t do the first time. 
And why not? Let’s assume it was to be a process of trial and error. Cut out the commercial dry food Ducky had been eating, replace it with a super-expensive vet-recommended kind, and see if that could’ve been the cause. Nope, apparently not. And it isn’t likely a bacterial infection, or the second round of drugs should’ve knocked it out.

If he’s got some kind of mite, then why would the antibiotics and antihistamines have given him relief? And we can’t keep him on drugs forever; that can’t be good for a dog any more than it’s good for a person. So it’s a mystery, and probably he’s developed an allergy to something in our house. But what? That is the question. What?
Could it be the egg that Scott has begun to fry up for Ducky in an attempt to get him off one of the commercial soft foods that has been a daily part of his diet? Maybe the company changed its recipe or something. Or was the egg thing begun in response to the scratching? It’s been so long that I’m not sure of the details. This has been going on since well before Christmas.
The dog is also getting quite a bit of fresh meat now, both raw and cooked. 
The scratching may be driving Ducky crazy, and it is doing the same to Scott and me. When Ducky starts scratching during the night, I say in a totally normal tone of voice, “Stop that.” He gets up and goes out to the living room to do his scratching.
I swear, he understands English.
Also, Scott notes that if Ducky is lying with him on the couch, he doesn't scratch for hours. He seems completely content. Why would that be? Could the dog have developed a psychosomatic itch due to being alone too much lately?
Your ideas and intuitions are welcome. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Trotsky's Grandson

And then there was Leon Trotsky, who came to Mexico and stayed at first with Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera.

The Lacunae includes Trotsky as one of the characters. 

Well, what could I do?

I went googling, hoping to find a webpage that allows me to hear Trotsky's voice recorded on a wax cylinder. 

I found that, and also this little interview with Trotsky's grandson:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pressure Points

"The uppermost portion of the ear is directly connected to your back and shoulders. Applying a clothespin for about a minute should go a long way to reduce built-up tension. Try this several times a day to lessen that back and shoulder pain."

Thanks to Mom's cousin Karen for forwarding the email about this. 

If anyone would like to read the entire thing and find out what each numbered area is for, email me.

My galpal Cathy was having sinus and headache issues, so gave it a try. I think the jury is out on whether it really was the clothespins rather than time itself that made the difference, but she's feeling better. 

I don't use clothespins to stimulate the pressure points. I bought magnets expressly for that purpose. They aren't necessary, but at least if I forgot about them (as opposed to clothespins) and went out in public, I might not get so many stares! 

Actually it's only a minute or two that one leaves the pressure on. No biggie.

What do you mean, do I really believe this works? 
I don't go for a regular shiatsu massage treatment every month for nothing, my dears. 
Now I'm not saying shiatsu or any other kind of therapy always works, but it does help some people some of the time, and I also think preventive maintenance makes as much sense as healing after an injury. 

Here I am, one of those crazy ladies who wears magnets on her ears! 

One magnet on each side of the ear holds them on; they could pass for earrings.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Me and Frida

One of the characters in Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Lacuna is Frida Kahlo.
I finished the book, its most interesting aspect the friendship between the main character, cook-turned-writer, and his friend Frida.

A print from a calendar or magazine was mailed to me months ago by my friend J, and is tacked up on the basement door. It is Kahlo's painting, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. 

I see it every time I come into the kitchen from the porch, and maybe that is why I don't see it. 

I fell in love with the handmade Frida Kahlo doll made for Cathy B by a dear friend, a mutual friend who went on to sew me a doll with my mom's physical characteristics.

From the library, a book showcasing some of Kahlo's belongings or collections is coming my way. 

Meanwhile, I poke around on the internet.

My Grandparents, My Parents and Me

By Frida Kahlo

I am doing a little reading while I wait.