Friday, September 30, 2016

What the Experts Say

The internet gurus say that if you're frequently changing the layout and design of your webpage, it's because the design isn't very good and that's why you're never satisfied.

And while this is likely true, it's not the only reason the layout and design of this webpage are always changing.

The reason is that I like to play with them and I can, so I do. It's fun and it's one way of learning. Granted, it's a slow and pathetic learning curve and there is no expert instructor to actually teach me anything. But as one fiddles around and tries this, that and the other thing, one picks up skills and tips. And that's a good thing.

Out on 15, the blackbirds are flocking. Their chatter in the trees, if you turn your head just so, sounds like water running.

The gurus say that frequent visitors like to see the same thing every time they come to your webpage. They like familiar places and sights. 

Is this true for you? Do you find it disconcerting when you come here and something is different?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Morning in the Life

I was up at 6:30 because my neck insisted.

"No more sleep for you!" it said. "Get out of this bed right now or I am only going to give you grief for a fourth day in a row."
Well, what choice did I have? Up I got. And settled myself upright in the easy chair, drank a cup of coffee, and nearly finished reading Quiet, by Susan Cain. It's about introverts and extroverts. I wish I'd read it when Everett was a child; maybe I could've helped him cope better, introvert that he is. 
At 7:30 we were off to Scott's mom's for breakfast. Well, he was off in his truck. I still had to get dressed, but said I'd be there shortly; I'd walk. 

"You won't get there before 8:30," he said. 

"As if," I sniffed. "When have you ever known me to spend a half-hour in the bathroom, curling my hair and putting on my makeup? Pfft. I'll be there by eight."

And so I was. It was cold out and windy and took 20 minutes of brisk walking. I wore a thick checkered coat under a windbreaker with the hood up over a tuque, and a scarf and gloves. There were gunshots to the south, which made me nervous, and lightning and thunder in the north. Scott came driving back to see if I'd like a ride but I'd warmed up by then, halfway there. When I said no but thanks that is sweet of you, he told me he'd seen a dark animal larger than a dog crossing the road ahead of me. Shit, said I, what do you think it was? No idea, said he. 

"Well if I'm not there in 15 minutes, send a search party into the bushes. If it drags me off, it won't eat my bright red coat."

In the jar I'm making a medicinal tincture with the herb motherwort; on the table are spearmint and wild yarrow, dried, for tea.

Reply to Comments

Maggie Turner on "Please Make Me a Choir": 

I agree Julie, it is such a shame! I loved to sing until that experience. The thing about music was that I didn't hear it at any other time than at school, except a little bit on Captain Kangaroo, I had no experience with it at all, and had never practised using my voice to sing, it was unthinkable. I can soar with the eagles in my mind's ear. 

Hi, you ladies! To Kate, maybe some willing friend who knows lots of good songs can teach you some and then you can start your own choir. 

I'm fussy. I want a choir in my living room; actually I want a barbershop quartet.  - Kate

To Maggie: It is personal to me because I have helped so-called non-singers to sing and I am scathing towards the people who ruined a natural pleasure for so many people. There are so few people who can't sing--if they are tone-deaf and can't hear the difference between notes. I have only met one person like that in a lifetime full of choirs and groups and singing at home with friends. Ironically, the tone-deaf woman sang with gusto; it sounded awful but I was so happy to hear it, my heart was so very lifted up with the joy she was spreading! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Back to the Oat Field

"I can combine," said the almost breathless voice on the other end of the phone. "Would you bring something out for me? I'm having a quick bite at Mom's right now before I head to the field."

"Sure," I said. "What time?" It was almost 5 o'clock already.

"Doesn't matter. I dunno. Whenever." 

"I've just taken buns out of the oven. Why don't you stop in here on your way?" I suggested.

Nope. The race is on! Every minute counts! There was just time to remind me not to drive over the stubble in Little Green (fire hazard) and not to drive in as far as I did last week or I'd get stuck, since there's been rain. He'd be on the combine quite far away, but he'd be watching for me. 

I made a tomato sauce and put meatballs in the oven and boiled water for spaghetti. Not his favourite, pasta (he's a potato man), but it's what I had planned for supper anyway.

One of two small combines on the farm. A larger one is on the shopping list. 

Reply to Comments

Maggie, I've put the recipe for 2-hour buns HERE in my Stubblejumpers Café recipe collection.

Teresa, we had a ouija board when I was a kid, too. And it predicted my uncle's marrying someone else than the gal he'd been going out with for about three years. It even gave us this unknown woman's first name. He hadn't met her yet. And he did marry her, too!

Ralph, I'm not sure how much is told about the future in a tarot reading. At least, the ones I do aren't so much that, as a look at where you will likely end up if you keep on exactly as you are. If you don't like that prediction, you have the opportunity to change your actions in the present. My readings seem to focus on where a person is at in the present and what that is creating. When upon occasion there is a prediction about the future and it comes true, I'm as surprised as anyone.

Maggie, I once had a reading done by a woman who was very psychic but was only interested in my money. She knew exactly how much I had coming (which I didn't yet know) and she used her abilities to try to convince me there was a lot of trouble in my near future and only she could help me avoid it, for a fee of -- you guessed it -- the amount that was coming to me. There are rotten people like that around and they use their abilities selfishly.
I've also had a reading done by someone who was full of fear and in the habit of looking at the dark side; his interpretations of upcoming events were correct, but skewed so negatively that when they actually happened, my experience of them was very different than what he had predicted.
I learned from these people, but what I learned was not to buy into their perspectives just because they have psychic ability. It doesn't automatically translate into wisdom, caring or honesty.

Also, Julie responded to your comment about singing in Gr. 4: "Those grade four teachers did harm a lot of children because the adults they became are ashamed to sing. Shame on those darn teachers. We don't have to win The Voice. Singing is for our own enjoyment and most people can sing enough to have fun."

WiseWebWoman, the short story contest? Really? Hm. I'll take another look at that entry.

Anyone out there who might like a tarot reading, please look over my Letter of the Law page first and see if it's for you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

22 Questions for Mr. Lakusta

hi Dennis How are you doing? I would like to see you again sometime. Are you still sick or are you all better now? What kinds of foods do you like to eat? Do you think you would ever want to write a song called Godzilla? Do you ride horses? How was your summer? Do you have a new car yet? Have you writtin any new songs now a days? Do you like to go shopping? I am 28 now. What do you like to do at home during the day? Did you write that new song called Emil goes to camp easter seal yet? Do you like to go swimming? I am going on a trip in the new year. Do you have any girl friends or boy friends? I am at my moms place this weekend. Do you like cats or dogs? Do you like to do lots of shopping? What songs do like to sing now? I went to camp easter seal this year. Do you like to go to the mall sometimes? How much do you like to go out and play at concerts? What all did you do today? What do you like to do for christmas? Do you think you would ever want to write a song called The forest? I went for a horse ride at camp easter seal this year and it was a long ride. Do you think you would ever want to write a song called horses?

from Emil

I had second thoughts about posting the email above, as I don't want to disrespect my boy's privacy or have it seem like I am laughing at him. But I do want to share his earnestness with you, as well as his excellent spelling skills, which are better than those of quite a number of people who submit stuff to the newspaper. There was only one word he asked me about; is it spelled "cald" or what? he wanted to know.

On Friday when I picked him up he was considering writing the above email, and wondered if Dennis would appreciate a "really long" one. On Saturday he decided he'd sit down and tap it out on the keyboard the next day, and on Sunday he occupied this chair for at least an hour while he interrogated Dennis. He was pleased to think that Dennis would be happy to receive this lengthy missive.

So ... I only forwarded the email to immediate family members, who would hear Emil's voice when they read it. My sister Joan responded with "Omg! I'm laughing out loud. Emil is great! I sooooo wish Benny could talk !!! Ahhhhh, o needed that. Thx:) " Which reinforced my original notion that it would be okay to post the letter. I didn't ask Emil's permission, but I know he'd give it.

(For those who don't know my son Emil: he was a 10-weeks-premature baby who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old. The consequent developmental delays have, supposedly, left him with the intellectual capacity of a six-year-old. However, I find he has wisdom well beyond that age and is much cleverer than he is given credit for.)

Oversized and imperfectly shaped 2-hour buns, but delicious (if I say so myself).

Monday, September 26, 2016

Please Make Me a Choir

My friend is joining a choir in the city and has posted a link at her blog in order to listen to it.
At the bottom of that post are some links to the One Human Family Gospel Choir Workshop that she and I participated in a couple times.

I took another listen to us (click HERE if you care to); I've posted links to this before in my own blog.

"Noble" is a song written by the choirmaster, Eric Dozier. The words are God speaking to us. It moves me to tears; not just the lyrics, but singing it too.

If I could be in a choir like this, I'd go to church (if I didn't have to sit through a sermon, I'd go for sure). My sister Karen keeps telling me I should, that I might enjoy it sometimes, and inviting me to sing with the special Christmas choir she leads every year.

You can see me at the back. I'm about seventh from the left, wearing a light purple scarf; I'm in the alto section and for a change I am not stuck in the front as one of the short people, even though I fit there. (Since when is 5'5" short? It may not be exactly tall, but it's not short!)

I'm the tightass who's hardly moving, compared to everyone around me. I hate the performance part of singing and stand there like a stick. Here at home, however, I'm up dancing and singing. Right now. Arms a-flailin'. Fingers a-snappin'. Head a-bobbin'. Feet a-tappin'. Hips a-swayin'.

But the singing itself, oh my god, I could live for that.

This glass of water for our dearly departed is being refreshed every day for 40 days, "so his spirit may drink." It's a comforting ritual to think of him for a few moments each time I refill the glass, and helps me reconcile with what is. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Daily Draw at Letter of the Law

If you are interested in tarot cards and like to see how others interpret them — I always learn something from this — you may like to know that I've put up today's "daily draw" on LETTER OF THE LAW.

If I were on the ball and could stick to routine, this would be done every day. However, by now you know me. It's a crapshoot, my friends.

Do you read tarot cards? If not, have you had a reading?

Ducky Doodle has a bed in each room so he can be (comfortably, of course) wherever I am.  Here he is near my feet in the office, stretched out to take advantage of warm sunlight on the floor. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

It's That Time Again

Frost warnings prompted me to bring a zinnia pot into the porch, and Scott picked all his tomatoes and peppers. The digging of potatoes and onions was on the agenda for one morning this week, but rain put the kibosh on that.

It's been coming down almost steadily for about two days; sometimes hard, others a light caressing mist. It's lovely out there, not cold at all but, alas, delaying the harvest.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Man's Search for Meaning

One of the books I'm reading is Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.

The first part of it describes the lives of prisoners in Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. Even mundane details are so upsetting that I can only read for about five minutes at a time before putting the book down and thinking about something else.

I've read a number of first-person accounts of the Holocaust, and of course they are always appalling.

A tidbit of Frankl's shared experience that will stick with me, perhaps for the rest of my own life, is that malnourishment/starvation meant prisoners were at all times so exhausted that mounting a six-inch step required hanging onto a handrail and hauling their bodies up.

Just the thought of it makes me not only sad and angry, but tired.

Yesterday I received a phone call from the field. It was Scott, who had asked if I'd drive a combine and was calling to say the swaths were heavy so it wasn't a good day for a lesson. I had packed a cold lunch for him and his brother Bruce, so I hopped into Little Green and drove it up to 15 (one of their quarter-sections of land).

After about an hour out there — and there is no better place on this earth to be than in a golden grainfield on a sunny day in the fall — I came home and slept for three hours straight.

I can't explain that, as I haven't lacked sleep lately and napping during the day is something I rarely, if ever, am able to do.

But it was the best segue I could come up with. (I know, it's pathetic.)

Sure, call me lazy. It's a grey morning after a nighttime rain and there will be no combining today. I think I hear weeping all around the countryside as farmers are chomping at the bit to get their crops off and the moisture is delaying progress.

Big White licks the mineral block in the pasture across the road from Golden Grain Farm. She is the lead cow in this particular small herd (they are not all in this picture). Just as in a herd of wild elephants consisting of calves and adult females, one mature cow sets the tone and leads the way. Scott and Bruce make sure there is at least one mature cow in every pasture where they are summering their cattle. She is less likely than a youngster to spook and cause a stampede when a butterfly surprises her. She's the brains and the experience.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

This Little Engine Could So

“If only I could find someone who could run a combine,” he said as he went out the door.
What? He doesn’t think I could run a combine? Hmph!
Whenever he’s suggested it, I’ve thought he was joking and have replied, “Are you sure you want to let me loose on your machinery?” because I might not recognize, for instance, that the motor is making a funny noise and should be turned off before it’s wrecked. But then, that would be the case for anyone who hasn’t run a combine in more than 30 years, and then only ran it once or twice, as I recall, to help Dad. 
I didn’t scurry after Scott and say “What about me? I’m available!” because I just got up and hadn’t even had coffee yet. 

Have I mentioned that I gave my notice at the newspaper several weeks ago and am now happily, for the moment anyway, unemployed? Which leaves me free to head out onto our road every day to enjoy sights like this:

Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Another one of those little jobs that gets put off for months on end is finally done: a dying plant has had some of its living parts broken off and stuck into soil, to live another day — if we're lucky.

There are two to give away; if you live here and want one, speak now!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Doggin' It, Doggone It

Most dogs that have never been leashed show it when you put them on a lead. They are constantly pulling you one way or the other, right?

Not this guy. You'd swear someone taught him how to "heel." On a leash, that is.

In recent years I've never walked a dog on a leash. Hell no. I've seen people walking on country roads with their dog on a leash and thought, shaking my head, that they clearly had no idea that a rural road is a perfectly safe place for an off-leash dog and were being over-cautious city folk.

So judgy.

Now I have learned of at least three good reasons why you might walk your dog on a leash, even on a rural road:

1. It doesn't always keep up with you as it explores the ditches, and if it's a small dog like Ducky, a coyote or maybe even a fox could dash out from somewhere and carry it off. That's what Scott's afraid of, and bids me keep Ducky close. I'm not good at that, as I tend to forget about him and by the time I remember, he's a quarter-mile behind, sussing out something in the grass beside the road.

2. Your dog spots some wild animal and takes after it, and doesn't listen when you call him back for his own safety. That wild animal could turn on him or lead him far enough away that he could get lost, and you, running behind, will never catch up in time.

3. A vehicle is coming so you call your dog to your side and he trots along next to you until the moment when the vehicle reaches you, when the fool animal dashes out in front of it. My dogs have done that a thousand times. We are fortunate in that most everyone who drives along our road slows down to a crawl to make sure they don't run over the dogs, but sometimes it's someone who doesn't.

So, while it feels silly to walk on our road with Ducky Doodle on a leash, those are my reasons. He makes it easy and he's safe; I don't have to worry about where he is. Win-win.

It's another perfect fall day and Mr. Doodle and I are about to head down the road to take advantage of it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Little Coyote Moves In

“I’d be using my rifle,” the vet said. “Once a coyote gets comfortable in your yard … the next thing you know, your chihuahua will disappear.”
A young coyote has been frequenting our yard so it is apparently time to get a territorial dog to warn it off. The search has extended to Facebook, animal shelters and veterinary clinics. 
Ducky Doodle doesn’t get out of our sight, but things could happen fast. We’d also like our barn cat not to become coyote food. We’re fond of the rabbit that appears in the yard too.
Still, there is part of me that is thrilled to spot the coyote when I step outside, or to see it heading away from me, down the driveway. I've been concerned that it isn't much more than a pup, just a half-pint, and maybe it is orphaned or lost. One night it sat crying just beyond our living room window, sounding alone and lonely. I did some internet research and found that coyote pups often leave their mothers in August, so maybe this is normal. 
Ducky did chase it off one day and it ran, but one day it might not, and it did no good for me to run after the two of them, calling for Ducky to come back. He ignored me in his excitement. 
There is a mature row of tall lilacs right off our step, and behind them are a couple crabapple trees and then another row of elms and poplars. We think the coyote is eating the crabapples that have fallen on the ground, as it seems to come and go from that area. The other day it must have heard me come out the door, and I saw it leave the yard by going along one side of the barn and toward the pasture.
I followed to see how far it would go.
Not far. It was laying just west of the barn, watching me, and the cattle were unconcerned. Obviously they're used to this little one. 

I advanced with my camera and the young coyote got up and made its way slowly down the fenceline, stopping every few feet to look back at me.

No doubt I'm being foolish, but I'm friendly toward the little beast and pleased every time I see it. If it's necessary, I'd far rather a dog push it out of the yard than to kill it "just in case."

From Wikipedia:
"Coyotes may occasionally form mutualistic relationships with American badgers, assisting each other in digging up rodent prey. The relationship between the two species may occasionally border on apparent friendship, as some coyotes have been observed laying their heads on their badger companions or licking their faces without protest. The amicable interactions between coyotes and badgers were known to pre-Columbian civilizations, as shown on a Mexican jar dated to 1250–1300 CE depicting the relationship between the two."

Believe it, or not? Not sure I do. Wikipedia is famous for its misinformation. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Building Ivan's Coffin

Scott's dad passed away last Wednesday in the nursing home where, due to health issues and dementia requiring 24-hour supervision, he lived for the past three years. While Ivan adjusted well to his new environment, he never stopped wanting to come home with whoever was visiting. In his mind, he had always put in a hard day's toil on the farm and would describe his labours in some detail. "If only other people worked as hard as me!" he said recently.

He left in a manner most people would like to make their exits, we figure: one minute in his chair pulled up to a table; the aide turns away to set something on the counter, turns back, and he is gone.

Ivan was all about farming: he loved the hardworking farmers' life, the land, the crops, the horses, the cattle, all of it. There'd be no suit worn on the day of his funeral; instead, he'd be duded up in blue jeans and a plaid shirt, which surely he would have chosen himself — the same outfit he wore every day to work on the farm.

With his family's approval, Scott decided to build his dad's coffin for the "western" funeral they were planning. On Sunday morning he got to work in front of the Quonset in our yard with his son Gunnar:

Scott's dear friend Rick (left) came to help; Scott is at the far right with Gunnar.  

In keeping with the western theme, siding from one of the old granaries on the farm provided the covering for the casket:
Installing the eight handles, because Ivan was a large man and the coffin too was weighty.

Scott's sister Lynn pitched in*, as did her son Ryan:

On Monday the coffin was taken over to Scott's mother's (and brother's) for final touches. Of course, plaid flannel:

Gunnar and Scott's brother Bruce place the pillow for Ivan's head. 

This little decoration was added, a tribute to Ivan's life as a farmer:

The coffin was then loaded up and taken to the funeral home. A little later it came back in a hearse, carrying Ivan's body. The top was removed out in the farmyard for one last viewing of a very beloved man by his grieving family, including nieces and nephews who live in the area. Some of Ivan's favourite things were tucked in beside him, among them the mitts he was always, still, looking for so he could go outside and get to work. 

These sombre, painful, disbelieving moments were followed by the sealing of the casket and then one last drive past the land where Ivan grew up and spent most of his adult life. The hearse led the procession of vehicles, which made a six-mile loop on the gravel roads before Ivan took his last trip to town. 

*Not everyone who helped construct and finish the coffin is shown in these photographs.  There was quite a large group working side-by-side, doing the one last thing they could do for their loved one, and doing it together.

You Commented on a Previous Entry
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Maggie Turner has left a new comment on your post "Birthday in the Field": 
A cold and harvest season, what a birthday! Wishing a Happy Birthday to Scott, or is it a... 

Ha! I wish Scott had time for a tea party! Instead he's out in the field this morning (Saturday), coughing and hacking. 

Maggie Turner has left a new comment on your post "Just Because": 
The comments here are very insightful and have me thinking. I would call myself "sensitive" to what others say, as well as being "sensitive" to having upset others. But when I trust someone that they would care about how I feel, it is far easier to bear hearing words I don't care for; when that trust exists my reaction, immediate, or late, is welcomed in return. The flip side for me is when people feel free to impose their world view on a sitation, I often adopt the "do unto others" stance and impose a quite different world view into their universe... those conversations don't tend to last very long, and they seldom recurr between myself and the given individual. One person on Facebook told me she didn't want know what I thought, she only wanted to hear from people who agreed with her; and I found that kind of refreshing, because it was an honest statement, even if I didn't respect her approach. 

People don't seem to listen, that's true, let alone understand or change their minds very often. 

Lorna has left a new comment on your post "Birthday in the Field": 
Best wishes to Scott on his chocolate-cakeless birthday 

He didn't even eat the ice cream or a piece of fudge when he came in after dark last night! That's when you know he's feeling crappy. 

Below, click on "Comments" to see any reader responses to today's entry. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Birthday in the Field

Scott’s 57th birthday is today. Now he can be as wise as me ... for the next four months.
And he has just gone out the door into the cold morning air, after sweating out some of his own cold overnight. I slept on the couch in hopes of avoiding catching it.
As I walk down the road these past few days you might hear my deep sighs of contentment and relaxation. The fall weather is glorious. 
I love being in the field at this time of year, so have asked if there is anything I can do to help. So far, not, but that may change. One year I drove the bale wagon around the field. Any time I’ve driven a tractor or combine I’ve liked it, although I wouldn’t if it was a super-hot day or if there were mosquitoes or horseflies getting into the cab. I'd be a fairweather farmer, right? These guys have a lot more stamina than I do. They've got mail carriers beat, too. 
As usual, it’s full-steam-harvest on Scott's birthday so we can’t plan anything. Last night I asked if he’d like a chocolate cake or had another preference. He thought not, as sweets aren't good for a cold. So maybe later, then.

Walking home from Scott's mom's place; best sky was always this stretch of road, when we lived in that farmyard 

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  1. Maggie Turner
    on Just Because
    Well, amen to that Kate! When silence is the response to something I've said, even if it is silence with a smile, if there is no eye contact, I always feel the tension, and sometimes I ask about it, depending on the circumstances. I know too that silence on my part, particularly if it is accompanied by a smile, is almost always interpreted as total agreement, which always takes me by surprise, because how could two humans ever totally agree on something that is expressed in language alone.

    Having said that, it is possible that I totally agree with you in never understanding people who put political ideals above human life, or even human liberty. It came of no surprise to me that democracy developed in a culture where slavery was the norm [Periclies], idiocy.
    "Silence is interpreted as agreement." Exactly. That's a serious misinterpretation. -K
  2. Julieon Just Because
    Good post. A lot of people are aware that they are "sensitive." This means to us, as I count myself among this group, that we are deeply affected by what others say to us. Lately, I noticed that habitually rude people are also deeply sensitive to what we, the supposedly kinder gentler folk, say to them. I began to think that people who are often critical and angry are just as sensitive to what is said to them and they are choosing offense rather than defense to protect their gentle selves. All this is psychology, I guess, which is a system of thought that has its limitations. I think we all need to get over our childhoods, once we have become a bit more aware of how that time influenced us, and we need to live in the present.

    As you say, harsh words do affect people and should be used sparingly, I figure. Such unnecessary damage, really!
    And I'm not even talking particularly about "harsh" words. They are sometimes quite matter-of-fact and sometimes they are even true words, but often we don't think twice about whether they should be said or whether it's our place to say them. I'm all for honesty and directness, but I'm also all for kindness and consideration, and sometimes there's a conflict that isn't taken into account when we run off at the mouth being all truthful. - K
  3. Joan McEwan on Just Because
  4. Oh oh..... What did I say?????
Ha Ha! As soon as I posted "Just Because" I received a text asking who I was pissed off at. 
I was actually thinking about the times I've said things that probably offended someone else, but that person didn't say so. -K.
  1. Annette Ericksonon Just Because
    So, so many times I've wanted to turn back time so I could say what I had to say but, the moment which would have been appropriate to say so has passed and doing so would no longer be relevant or appropriate. Some of us just take longer to formulate our thoughts into words, especially when we don't have a pen in our hands or a keyboard at our fingertips.
That's right. Also, we can say things with all good intentions, and they can be misinterpreted by someone who has a soft spot we weren't aware of. -K.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Just Because

Just because someone doesn’t react immediately doesn’t mean they aren’t hurt, offended or angry. Just because they only say “Oh” doesn’t mean they agree with you.
How many times I’ve spoken my mind and assumed no harm was done. I didn’t intend any, so my words were taken in stride, right?
Well no, not necessarily. We are often shocked by blunt truths as well as unkind judgments or rude and uncalled-for, poorly thought-out remarks, and don’t respond in the moment they are heard. As the day wears on, we think about what was said, our feelings surface, and we become aware of our genuine, deeper response. We may find ourselves quite pissed off, although the perfect moment to say so to the speaker has passed.
We could’ve said “this,” we think, or “that,” but we didn’t think fast enough. Maybe we didn’t want to seem rude or unkind ourselves or make a scene, so we let it go. Maybe we thought the speaker was a fool and correcting him or her was a waste of energy. We may not be engaging with this person again or often, so there’s no point in taking him or her to task. 

What I’m saying is that just because your listener doesn’t tell you to shut the hell up, fuck off and mind your own business, you idiot, doesn’t mean that isn’t exactly what they are thinking.

Showers have made it difficult to get the baling done.

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Lorna on "Frida": 
I find Frida fascinating but not very lovable. And that's from the woman known as Pollyanna. 

Those who knew her said she was charming, had quick, light movements like a hummingbird, and was generous and loving to her friends and many others. 
What I find difficult to reconcile is how she could ever have become a supporter of Stalin. What was she thinking? He was a murderous thug and everyone knew it. I'll never understand how it is that otherwise sensible people put political ideals before human life. Never.

Below, click on "Comments" to see any reader responses to today's entry. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Still Miss Someone

"Written by Johnny Cash, made famous by Dolly Parton."

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Maggie Turner on "Frida": 
Condolences to Scott and the family. What a wonderful ritual, sons and grandsons building the coffin, so respectful and full of love.
I also find Frida Kahlo a fascinating individual, thanks for the link. 

Thank you, I'll pass that along. 

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Saturday, September 10, 2016


I didn't do much reading over the summer. This I know because it took me more than a month to finish the biography of Frida Kahlo. It was borrowed from a friend, so there was no need to be concerned about overdue notices from the library, where I get most of my reading material. I took the book at a leisurely pace, often in short increments, till the very end. 

Poor Frida. What a hard life she had. I mean, a lot of physical suffering and a lot of emotional pain. Perhaps the two go hand-in-hand. But she certainly met her days with courage and stamina, and consciously made the best of what she had to work with. 

The book also helped me make sense of her paintings by delving into the symbolism in each one. I need that; when meaning isn't obvious, I miss a lot. Before these explanations, I found many of Kahlo's paintings macabre and even childish. Now, after becoming acquainted with her better, I understand that she knew herself very well and knew that it is the personal in life that is the most important thing to share. She knew that the personal is universal, and that what one of us feels intensely, we all experience at some time or other.  

Here is one of my favourites: 

Frida with her favourite "escuincle" dog.

It's the tiny "escuincle" dog that amuses me so much. Frida actually had a number of hairless Xoloitzcuintli dogs. Perhaps "escuincle" was her way of spelling it in English, or maybe it was her nickname for the dog, but the word itself is funny (to me).

Frida, after a traffic accident that nearly killed her, endured severe medical treatments for the rest of her short life. Some were torture. She had to wear body casts or corsets that kept her immobile for months sometimes. She often painted them:

I've seen the movie Frida once before, starring Salma Hayek, but now I want to see it again.
Here is a documentary where a lot of spoken text is taken directly from the bio I just read, by Hayden Herrera:

And now I must get a move on. There is a coffin to be built in our yard. Scott's dad passed away on Wednesday afternoon and this is a labour of love that Scott is sharing with his son and other family members. I am going to make a vat of BEAN DISH so they have something to snack on when they come in to warm up, as it's cool and rainy out there. 

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Maggie Turner on "Tricking the Lazy Self": 
That old familiar inertia! Where does it come from I wonder. I have to talk myself into going for my walk almost every day. Your approach using incremental conditions works for me too, it is like priming a pump. 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs to play games with herself in order to do what is healthy for a mind and body. I get kind of down on myself for not being more disciplined and ambitious, when maybe this is simply human nature. 

Lorna on "Tricking the Lazy Self": 

You called it. I love harmless tricks.
Since my friend Cathy, the laundry queen, told me you can dye fabrics in your washing machine, I do it all the time. Yesterday I decided to dye the white kitchen curtains a wine colour, like the ones in the living room. Except they came out pink instead. I am not happy with myself; should've checked to see what the fabric was, first. Anyway, I've hung them back up for now (I see shopping in my future) and have been waiting for Scott to notice and comment. He hasn't, or if he has, he hasn't said a word. If he does, I'm going to pretend they've always been that colour. 

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