Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Party

........Last night we had carving of pumpkins. I have written a lot lately about poetry - sorry to be such a bore - but it is an escape, for me anyway. Lines from poems often roll around in my head or pop up when I'm about to write, which happened just now. The first line of the post is actually an echo from the title of a poem by Henry Reed, "Today we have naming of parts."

Carving pumpkins is a family affair in our house. I go out with my husband to pick out two pumpkins at the local supermarket. We used to go into the country to buy one from a farmer, but they were very expensive and quite small for the money. So now we drive three blocks to the grocery store, where they are more of a lost leader and buy two very plump pumpkins.

My husband hollows them out and our two sons carve them. Here is my eldest's take on the horrid Jack o' the Lantern.

Pumpkin - with outside light
Here he is again with a candle.

Pumpkin with inside light.

And here is my youngest's interpretation. He looks a lot like Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Here is a link to a wonderful history of the pumpkin and why it is called One of the Three Sisters.

Finally the poem mentioned above, in case you were interested. It really has nothing to do with pumpkins. It's the wrong season as well. However, the title is orange.

Naming of Parts

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all the neighboring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call is easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have the naming of parts. 
Tonight we will have screaming of witches. 

Have an amazing day!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tell A Story Day

Some how I missed the fact that October 27 was National Tell A Story Day. It is celebrated more in England and Scotland than in North America, but it sounds like a wonderful day. I'm not very good at making up stories. That being said, I am always making up stories about people I see in restaurants or on the bus. When I take my walk, often through the cemetery, I wonder about the names on the headstones and imagine what their lives might have been like. OK, I make up stories, just not very good ones :) Anyway, since I don't have a piece of fiction to share with you, I will tell you a true story. It's how my ancestors came to Canada. Everyone has one of these stories. They are the building blocks of a nation.

It all started in Ireland with one of the potato famines.  Most of the peasants who worked the land in the mid eighteen hundreds "over there" were very poor. Huge families and burgeoning costs kept most people barely able to provide the necessities of life. When their single source of income, the potato harvests, failed, survival meant leaving the country.

My great, great-grandmother, Anne, was one of those survivors. She set sail with her nine-year-old son and two young daughters, for Canada. Her husband, Tom, would stay in Ireland and work, in order to pay their passage. Fortunately, the foursome survived the hardships of the journey and finally arrived in Mount Forest to start a new life. Anne and her family were given crown land and joined a community of similarly displaced people, who helped each other clear the land, build homes and cement a community.  It was ten years before her husband could join her.  I am still in awe of a woman who, with the help of a young boy, managed a farm and two younger children, in a strange country, with bitterly cold winters, often miles away from friends and neighbours.

But manage they did. The young boy went on to marry and have children of his own. In total he and his wife raised fourteen children, five girls and nine boys.  One of those boys was Peter, my grandfather. Time passed and Peter married Rose Smith, who gave birth to six children, five boys and a girl. One of those boys was my father, Charles. His siblings also had children. In total Peter had 30 grandchildren. 

No one seems to have kept in touch with Peter’s brothers or sisters, but if any of them were as prolific as he, the family could have populated a small town. Homesteaders came from strong stock.  They were survivors.  Last week my father turned ninety-nine.  All of my cousins are still alive and my father has an older brother, who is quite hale and hardy. Many of my cousins went on to have three or four children. We may have to have a reunion one day, just to have a head count.

That's my story for National Story day, albeit a little late.

The picture? My three kids - Thank you Anne.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Poetry and Blogging from the NY Times

I did today, what I often do when I don't have an idea for a post. I keyed random phrases into the title bar of my MAC. The phrases usually consist of terms that interest me. This morning it was "poetry in the news." It flushed out this wonderful column from the NY Times, Poetry and Blogging by Paul Krugman.

His article is more of a mini review of a book he is enjoying, Tom Standage’s Writing on the Wall: Social Media — The First 2,000 YearsThe book defines social media as exchanges of information among people who are affiliated, rather than a top down dissemination of data. The book's treatise is that social media has been going on for hundreds of years, mainly through the exchange of letters that were then shared, copied and exchanged some more.

In the Tudor court these letters were often in the form of poems, because poetry allowed you to discuss sensitive topics elliptically, while still displaying your cleverness. "You could even build a career through poetry, not by selling it, but by using your poems to build a reputation, which could translate into royal favor and high office — sort of the way some people use their blogs to build influence that eventually leads to paying gigs of one kind or another. "

The article ends by wondering why so few of us read poetry these days?

The first comment to the blog noted that poetry is alive and well in popular music. I beg to differ. Lyrics are poems, where the music comes first and the words are added later. Real poetry is where the words come first. Some of these poems have music added later, however, the words have always come first.

Here's a Shakespearean sonnet for a Fall day. Have a good one.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73)

  by William Shakespeare
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
   This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ravens and Cremation at Breakfast....

It's about 9:30am and I'm having tea and toast for breakfast, while reading The Cremation of Sam McGee. I have a beautifully illustrated version with paintings by Ted Harrison and an introduction by Pierre Berton. It's a keeper. However I am not sure that it's breakfast reading. Yes, it's getting cold out there, but it hasn't snowed as yet and we are usually spared the worst of the winter here in Toronto anyway. Also I have never had any desire to go any where near the north in winter.

My sister lived in Eqaluit for years and braved many white-outs, some lasting up to two weeks. Cabin Fever is rampant then. The blowing snow obscures any view from the windows and you are stuck in, because if you went out you couldn't see where you were going and you might end up dead in a snow drift just outside your door. My brother has spent years, as well, in the North, in Fort McMurray, which is on the border of Sam McGee country, The Yukon. No I'm the wimpy one in the family. I could easily winter in the south.

Ravens in the Yukon

So why am I torturing myself with the tale of Sam McGee? Well, I needed a picture about reading to children for my post yesterday and I happened to find this book conveniently at the bottom of the stairs. Why, doesn't everyone secrete a poetry book here or there in case the need arises?

Actually, I have always been curious about the opening lines of the poem -

"There are strange things done
                                      in the midnight sun
           By the men who moil for gold...."

I have been fascinated by the word "moil." It means to work hard or to move around in confusion or agitation. Not exactly opposite meanings, but I'm not sure that I see any obvious connection. Anyway, I have found an inconsistency in the poem, as well. It is set in winter, where the sun may shine for an hour or two around noon. The midnight sun happens in summer. That being said, it's a very humorous poem and a great one to read at any age and at any time of the day or night!!

My post might have been worse. I was also reading an article about Ravens from Mental Floss. I could have just as easily been writing about Poe's, The Raven. I think I'll save that one for Hallowe'en :)

Have a good one!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

There are strange things done.... the name of literacy. I just shared on FB an article by Neil Gaiman which was published in The Guardian. It's an essay on the importance of libraries and reading, especially Fiction. I think I may have to rethink my attitude to Fiction. Somehow over the years, I have preferred true stories to Fiction and rarely read Science Fiction or Fantasy. Gaiman makes an amazing argument for both.

One fact in the article that shocked me was that the US plans for its growth in penal institutions, years ahead. They do it, says Gaiman, based on a simple algorithm. They look at how many 10 and 11 year olds who, currently, can't read and decide how many prisons to build in 10 or 15 years time. This is very sad.

Another nugget that surprised me in the article was that for years China frowned on the reading of Science Fiction, until they realized that their countrymen, although very good at manufacturing, were always copying what other countries brought to them. They rarely invented their own products. A Chinese contingent went to the US and interviewed a number of innovators there. They discovered that most of the top inventors had read Science Fiction, when they were younger. Gaiman was invited to speak at China's first Science Fiction Fair.

The theme of the article was that free and easy access to books is essential in any society. Libraries should never be closed, because they offer an open, unbiased physical location to read Fiction, access non-Fiction and generally commune with people who love and respect books and the creativity they provide.

Poetry that transports!!

The article goes on to say that reading in the home is tantamount. Adults should read to children. Children should have a place to read by themselves and they should be able to read what they like, not have their choices coloured by parental biases.

We read daily to our eldest when he was young. I actually taught him to read from the Ladybird reading series, before he went to school. I wouldn't say that he is an avid reader, now; but he does read and he does respect books.

Our two youngest are a year apart. My husband read Harry Potter to our daughter and because her brother had trouble settling down, I read him poetry. Our daughter, has some learning disabilities, but she always got A's in English. My youngest found the books he needed to read, as audio versions on-line. I'm not sure that he reads much poetry these days, but he can speak to anyone and often has one-on-one lunch dates with our friends who are in their 50s compared with his 20 odd years. Even if he doesn't read much poetry, he is well-versed and a man for all ages :)

The world needs books, libraries and free access to everything in print!!

The picture - a Canadian legend written by a Brit, Robert Service, about a land that is poetry on ice - gotta love it!!

Have a very cool day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Sometimes, I have to see "something" several times before a pattern emerges and I get an idea for a post. Recently, I have had two feeds to my FB wall, one from and another from wordporn, both defining the word, Hiraeth (he-writhe). In Welsh it means homesickness. However, in a broader sense, it also means a longing for places to which we may never return.

We may never return to the past, for example, to re-visit our youth, or meet with people we once knew, or go to places that have changed so dramatically, that they are no longer what they were.

It's a word that is often said very softly. It moans a little and catches at the back of the throat in a slight guttural rush. Half sob, half sigh, it lingers in the air for a moment, before it fades like the memories it hopes to revive.

Steps Back in Time

It's a word that I heard often during my time in Wales. The phrase, "Oh the Hiraeth," would generally end a story, as "Amen" would end a prayer.

You have to wonder about cultures that have a single word for this angst. Are they people who cling to the past? Or have they, like the Welsh, been subjected to such a violent wrenching away of their language and customs, that the keening never stops.

I don't know the answer. All I know is that both the Irish and the Welsh and possibly other cultures have turned this Hiraeth into music that moves the soul. If a song has the power to pull back the curtain of time and draw from oblivion the people and places we need to see again, then let it be heard.

Hiraeth - sorry I couldn't embed it.

Have a memorable day!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

A-Z in one post!!

As I have said before, I am a sucker for a challenge and this is one I couldn't resist.
Before I go any further, let me link you to the site that started it all, A-Z.
Challenging, though this maybe, to write a post with each successive sentence beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, I like to think of myself, as up to it.
Dabbling with phrases and toying with sentences is more of a hobby at the moment, but, I would love to make it a lifetime commitment!
Engaging readers, however, hasn't been easy.
For the most part, I write what I please and I know that I should write what pleases them.
Given that I have trouble enough finding topics that excite me, I know that I would have even more difficulty finding topics that would excite both of us.
However, I assimilate well and I am sure that, if I read and write enough, I will reach a common ground.
Interestingly, I don't need a large readership; I need a kindred readership.
Just how many people are there in the world that share my eclectic views of it, anyway?
Karma and kinship are the domain of emotional writers, I believe and that's not me.
Lessons in logic or comments on the illogical in this world are more cerebral and closer to my philosophical take on it.
Much can be said of Hemingway's classic quotation on writing; "All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed."

Skeletons in the family tree.

No, I have managed to hide a lot of emotion, or I have trained it out of my life and writing, because it is too painful.
Often it's too difficult to deal with the highs and lows of daily existence.
Perhaps I just need something a little more predictable.
Quiet, calm, rational thoughts are not that exciting, though, and as a result do not make for exciting writing.
Really, I think that I have to rev up my posts a bit.
So, I will take a lesson from all those how-to-write bloggers and look for some juicy morsels to spice up my writing.
There must be a skeleton or two, hidden in a closet somewhere, to expose.
Unearthing a distant relative that has passed on a rebellious seed could be interesting.
Vindicating a wrong, that resonates with others, might also win some like-minded souls.
Why, I think I've got it!
Xenophobic, though I am; I think that I can move into new territories.
Yes, I can.
Zenith, here I come!!

The picture? Another of my son's sculptures.


Five Minute Friday's word for 5 minutes of writing today is "together." So here goes -

There are days when I don't feel that together. You know, you are in one place, but your mind is miles away. Maybe it's in the past re-visiting a moment there or maybe it's in the future, realizing an idea that you may have had. It's then very weird to come back to the moment and feel the concrete sidewalk under foot, if you are out for a walk, or sip the tea, that has now gone cold in the cup, because you paused to leave mentally and have just now returned.

Me coming back from somewhere.

I don't mind the bits and pieces of me scattered over history or flung into the future on a whim. Sometimes it's a tad closeting to be altogether, all the time. Being loose and a bit fragmented is liberating. It gives me energy, ideas and creative momentum. It's just a little difficult for the organized world to accept. People expect you to have your head on your shoulders and not in the clouds. They want you to have your feet on the ground, not in the air, dancing and to have your arms and hands, busy and productive, not speaking, through secret signals, to someone in another world.

Please join me on Five Minute Friday. Post here or in the group. I'd love to read your take on the topic.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Something About An Old Coat.....

The weather these days has been more like November than October, so I decided to wear my winter coat. Now I get attached to things and a warm coat that works - which means......

1. It has lots of pockets.

2. It fits.

3. It's long enough to cover those parts of the legs that "feel" the cold.

4. It can be buttoned up around the neck to keep out drafts.

5. It has a hood for snow or rain.

6. It never shows the dirt.

7. It has lots of zippers for whatever :) a keeper.

Pocket Change

I don't think that I'm rushing the season. It snowed in Owen Sound, about 2.5 hours north of Toronto, yesterday. We're next!!

The other nice thing about old clothes, is that if you haven't worn them for a season, you find lots of interesting "things" in the pockets. They're like tiny time capsules of what you were doing last March, for example. Yes, I do empty my pockets from time to time and I do send the coat off to the cleaners, again, from time to time. However, although, cleanliness maybe next to godliness, there is something deliciously wicked about finding a twenty dollar bill and a liquor filled chocolate in a hidden pocket - my winter survival kit :)

Nobody does old coats better than that old hat, Leonard Cohen. Here is his Famous Blue Raincoat sung by Jennifer Warnes - a little easier to listen to.

Have a cool day!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


......Sometimes my posts only come together when the stars align. Today I was reading a post by a popular blogger, who is also a published author, Stephen King. No not that Stephen King. The Stephen King that I am referring to is a.k.a. TOSK - The Other Stephen King.

Anyway, Stephen writes Fantasy and wrote a post on "other" languages used in fantasy fiction. Here is the link, Fictional Languages. It is a wonderful celebration of all those authors who have created new languages to be used in their English language novels. Stephen's post also goes into the detail of how he is creating a language for his next book(s). Now, I have difficulty getting a post out in English and here are all these other authors, not only getting their posts out, but also inventing other languages. Sigh!

A Mad Tea Party

Oh yes, the alignment. I happened to be posting in another blogging group - My Blogworld and I came across this blog entitled "Gyre and Gambol." I recognized it immediately as a line from one of my favourite poems - Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll. (Yes, the Gambol should be spelled Gimble - lets just call it a mutation :) ) The poem itself has to be the most amazing example of an invented language. OK, it isn't all another language. There are a lot of connectors that are recognizably English; but it's a wonderful study in mood, and fantasy, and how we do not have to be tied to convention. We can just speak and we can write and we can be understood, because of some sort of intuitive connection between writer and reader.

Here is Jabberwocky. It is your "fantastic soul" speaking. Listen to it!


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

I have a love-hate relationship with this poem. I love it, but I hate that they have slain the Jabberwock.

Gamble, gambol, gimble - a conjugation? a declension? the beginnings of a new language?

The picture? Some of my son's madness from Lewis Carroll - The Mad Hatter's Tea Party :)

Have a fantastic day!!

FlyKly is coming...

In an earlier post I talked about and mentioned a project that a designer, I know, is hoping to get off the ground. Today, I decided to take a look at some of the other projects on the site. I hadn't gone very far when I saw FlyKly. Just to put things in perspective, my designer friend's knitting project, which involves the publication of a DVD that has been filmed, but not edited, had an original goal of $8,500. To date she has 326 backers and has raised $20,107, well over her original target. Her campaign is winding down now with only 51 hours to go!

Wheels as Art

On to FlyKly, which is a very clever wheel that fits almost any bicycle to give you an assisted ride. You have to know that I have been searching for the past year or so for an affordable battery assisted bicycle that is lightweight and easy to use. FlyKly has all of this and a lot more. Their goal was to raise $100,000 to begin production in NY. To date they have 536 backers, have raised $147, 512 and have 36 days to go in their campaign. I think that this one is a winner!!


There were a few other projects as well. Two of which are not only from Canada, but from very close to home. One is in Toronto, where I live, and another is in Ottawa, where the government lives. Both projects happen to be Sci Fi novels. One is 180% funded with 28 days to go in their campaign and the other is 722% funded with 12 days to go. I wonder if the success of Alice Munro's recent Noble prize award has sparked this interest? However, Alice didn't write Sci Fi. Her novels were very real!! Let's not confuse the two :)

The site obviously works. Hurray!!

Have a fully funded Day!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Have You Heard of Kickstarter?

Have you heard of I hadn't until yesterday. It is a site that garners funding for art and other creative projects. I found out about it because a knitting designer that I have known for years wanted to publish her video on stranded knitting, however, she didn't have the funds to do it.

Enter Kickstarter. Beth Brown Reinsel launched her project on Kickstarter and has raised $20,000.00 in pledges. In return for the money pledged she is sending out patterns and kits to knit her amazing Scandinavian mittens. Kickstarter takes on projects such as creating films, publishing books, mounting art installations, and many more.

Although, Kickstarter is the hub, you have to do a lot of the leg work yourself to promote your project. Beth has been posting on FB and other social media sites. I'm sure that she has contacted a lot of people she has taught over the years for help too. Although there are a number of DVDs on stranded knitting, Beth's would be a classic. I'm so glad that she exceeded her original goal of $8,500.00

I think that I'll tell my son about the site. He has some art projects on the back burner. Spread the word. There are many of us who support the arts. Help a project, close to your heart, get launched!!

Cheshire Cat

Here is some information from the site itself:

Seven things to know about Kickstarter:

1. Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.
We’re a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, 5 million people have pledged $836 million, funding 50,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now.

2. Each project is independently created.

The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control over and responsibility for their projects. Kickstarter is a platform and a resource; we’re not involved in the development of the projects themselves. Anyone can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as it meets our guidelines.

3. Together, creators and backers make projects happen.

Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money. All-or-nothing funding might seem scary, but it’s amazingly effective in creating momentum and rallying people around an idea. To date, an impressive 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

4. Creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not to profit financially. Instead, project creators offer rewards to thank backers for their support. Backers of an effort to make a book or film, for example, often get a copy of the finished work. A bigger pledge to a film project might get you into the premiere — or a private screening for you and your friends. One artist raised funds to create a wall installation, then gave pieces of it to her backers when the exhibit ended.

5. Creative works were funded this way for centuries.

Mozart, Beethoven, Whitman, Twain, and other artists funded works in similar ways — not just with help from large patrons, but by soliciting money from smaller patrons, often called subscribers. In return for their support, these subscribers might have received an early copy or special edition of the work. Kickstarter is an extension of this model, turbocharged by the web.

6. Backing a project is more than just giving someone money.

It’s supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world. People rally around their friends’ projects, fans support people they admire, and others simply come to Kickstarter to be inspired by new ideas. Some projects take longer than anticipated, but creators who are transparent about issues and delays usually find their backers to be understanding.

7. Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life.

We’re an independent, 69-person company, based in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making Kickstarter a little bit better every day, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding new projects to share. If a project is successfully funded, we apply a 5% fee to the funds collected.

We believe that creative projects make for a better world, and we’re thrilled to help support new ones. Building a community of backers around an idea is an amazing way to make something new.

The picture? My sons sculpture of the Cheshire Cat.

Have an awesome day!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Life According To Yogi....

This post was the result of a conversation at dinner last night. Somehow, we got to talking about Yogi Berra. We mentioned a few of his more famous quotations and I said, that I bet, if I looked up some more, I could write a post on them. Well here goes...

1. "It ain't over, til it's over." This has to be his most famous quotation. I wonder how often he has been proven right. It is for all those people who give up in the 8th inning and leave the park - analogous to giving up on life and deciding that it's not going to get any better.

Don't leave! Hang in there until the bitter end. Things could and have changed at the last moment. I remember once being at a Blue Jays game and we were down 5 to 10 against another team. It was the 8th inning and I decided that it was over! I pestered my husband to leave. I had shopping to do :) We turned on the radio for the drive home and listened to the end of the game. Well, there was the equivalent of a break away in the 9th and the Jays came back to win 11-10. I have never, ever asked to leave early again!!

2. "It's like deja-vu, all over again." The phrase is nonsense, maybe. In fact, it almost defies explanation and perhaps it shouldn't be explained, but just accepted as the distillation of the weirdness of a situation - something happening again and again. It's akin to "Someone just walked on my grave," or "This has all happened before and it will all happen again." Maybe this is why Baseball keeps so many statistics. Perhaps to be able to predict, with some accuracy, when something, that has happened before, will happen again.

In all probability, if you pulled off a winner once, you can do it again :)

3. "The future ain't what it used to be." I'm not sure whether this is good or bad. Maybe the suggestion is that, because of prior knowledge, there will be fewer surprises in the future. Or maybe Yogi, had this ability to see into the future and found it disappointing. I'm not sure. I know in baseball we all hope that a new draft choice or a fortuitous trade will be the team's saviour. Perhaps the way the game is played now, based mainly on statistics, that there are fewer wild cards. Who knows?

It's probably a safe bet, in life, to work hard and hope to win the lottery!!

4. "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore." Inverse inflation? Again I see that hope, that something worth a lot less, could be seen as delivering a lot more. Why would anyone even consider a nickel being worth a dime? Someone who believes in miracles!! Yo, Yogi!!

Bobble Heads in The Game of Life :)

5. "When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it." Do the impossible!!

6. "If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be." Perhaps, we just need to have imperfections and limitations to keep us going. A perfect world may be just too boring.

7. "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there." Musings on that fork in the road, perhaps. Do any of us really know where we are going? Perhaps we just arrive somewhere and decide that this was the goal we set out to achieve. It is probably easier to record history then to predict the future, which probably will never be what it's supposed to be anyway.

8. "Half the lies they tell about me aren't true." An original catch 22. If you lied and said you were insane, in order to get out of the army, they would deem you sane and keep you in, because you were trying to save yourself. Maybe you need a little insanity to just keep in the game. Batter up?

The picture - a player contemplating the game of life. Just keep "nogging" along?

Have an awesome day!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why I won't be moving to a small town soon...

There was an article in the business section the other day about selling your home in the city and moving to a small town. Many do this when they retire, because, if you picked the right small town, you could perhaps buy a house at less than half the selling price of your house in the city. You would then not only have a home, but a lot of money left over to travel, start a small business or just bank!!

It's certainly a tempting idea, however, the article went on to suggest what type of people would adapt well to life in a small town. According to this list, my husband and I would never survive the move. Here is an excerpt from the article.

"You are suited to relocating to a small community if you are:

1. Good at building new friendships.
2. Extroverted
3. A good learner (e.g. you can figure out how a well and a septic system work.)
4. Good at pursuing hobbies or interests that will help you meet people."

Unfortunately neither my husband nor I are extroverts. I am the one who would have to figure out the mechanics of a house on a well with a septic system. Although I could join a knitting guild, my husband's hobbies are reading mystery stories and watching baseball on TV. Finally, I can't say that either of us have a wide circle of friends. In fact, we both have, as best friends, people we met in elementary school - go figure!

City Lights

I know of some people who have sold their house in the city and relocated to their cottage, which in one case was fairly isolated. Unfortunately the fates were against this one couple. No sooner had they moved, when the husband had a heart attack. As the wife didn't drive, she was at the mercy of friends and neighbours to regularly drive her the three hours from the cottage to the hospital, where her husband was recovering.

Sometimes you just have to be realistic and do a lot of "what if" scenarios before you make that huge leap. The article does suggest renting for a while in the place where you would like to buy or at least spending some vacation time there.

I love the idea of having a bigger place for less money and having some extra cash to travel, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to give up what I have become very accustomed to.

Ironically, I could move to another country, for the adventure!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

5 Minute Friday - the ultimate quickie :)

Another example of the power of networks. I was reading a blog posted in the Ultimate blog Challenge today and they mentioned that their post was the result of a prompt from the site, Five Minute Fridays. Here are the rules:

We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
It started because I’d been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.
So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes.
Your words. This shared feast.
It’s easy to join in, just:
  1. Check what the prompt is on my blog.
  2. Write a post in only five minutes on that topic on your blog.
  3. {And if you don’t have a blog, no worries! Just leave your writing as a comment on my post}
  4. Link over here and invite friends to join in.
  5. Select the permalink to your post {so not your blog url but your post url }
  6. Using the blue linky tool at the bottom of my Five Minute Friday post enter your link.
  7. It will also walk you through selecting which photo you want to show up in the linky.
  8. Your post will show up in our Five Minute Friday linky.
  9. Be sure and encourage the person who linked up before you!
Our most important requirement for participation: There’s really only one absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it Five Minute Friday rule: you must visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

Their prompt today was "laundry."

"I gave up on laundry years ago. OK I have a washer and a dryer and I throw in bundles of clothes. Each bundle goes in the washer first and then into the dryer when the washer stops, or when I remember that maybe there are clean clothes somewhere in the house. I don't sort - whites, coloured, delicates etc. I just decided that I could eliminate a lot of angst from my life, if I just wore or accepted grey for underwear or anything that might have been white. If a colour ran, I decided that some how the gods were trying to say something to me. Think about it!! Yes, "things" shrink in the dryer too, but that is also an act of god!!

As soon as my son was able to lift a laundry basket, laundry became his job. He learned my rules very quickly and ironically, very quickly altered them. He never puts his jeans in the dryer, because they shrink!! Go figure!!"

Times up!! Now maybe I could turn this into a "groomed" post and add a little ironing, which I don't do on a regular basis, but when I do, I follow the rules!!

The first picture? Laundry as Art. It was an art installation at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2013. I would also like to do a post on "pegging out." I only peg out laundry when I'm in Europe. It's a travel experience I never mind.

The second picture? Laundry as Art too, but for different reasons. There are those among us who would raise housework to an art form. All the better to live with - if you know what I mean :)

Have a great day!!

Wither the Wilbury's...?

My daughter sent us a text last night asking if we had heard of the Wilbury's or more correctly "The Travelling Wilbury's." I hadn't and I couldn't believe that hadn't given that one of the band members was Bob Dylan, a favourite. The other members included:

George Harrison - I liked the Beatles, but didn't actually follow them, as I preferred Folk music.
Jeff Lynn & Tom Petty - I guess you had to be really famous to be a household word and these weren't for me.
Roy Orbison - I knew, but never really cared for his music. My husband calls it music to commit suicide by.

Don't Monkey with the Moose :)

These performers came together in the late 80s and early 90s to cut and promote two albums. My daughter insisted we listen to them on YouTube, which we did. They do have a distinct sound, very Bob Dylan-ish. I guess this is a case of everything old is new again. She thinks they're fabulous!!.

Sadly two members of the band have died, George Harrison and Roy Orbison. Bob Dylan is still around. A year or so ago I even bought a CD of Dylan singing Christmas Carols - not a good choice. I think his voice has gone, unlike Leonard Cohen, who is older and maybe never had a voice to start with :) Of course there is always Pete Seeger, who is well over 90 and still performing.

Perhaps when your voice goes, you should move on to reciting poetry, as Pete would call it "talkin' blues." Dylan would be very good at this. I must admit I liked the Wilbury's and they might have been a little ahead of their time. One of their songs was Tweeter and the Monkey. Sorry I can't embed it.

The picture? I didn't have a picture of a monkey. We substitute moose a lot here in Canada :)

Have an awesome day!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Curb Wars

I was skimming through the paper today, when I came across an article that actually mentioned my street. This is rare. The article was about the tricky business of street parking. We live in the inner city, in an area that was probably developed in the late 1920's or early 30's. This means that they built houses with the understanding that people might own a car, however, just one and that they would have to be able to park it on their property.

In order to maximize space, houses were often built with a shared driveway. The idea was that one access road to two separately owned parking spots would save about 15' of land for every two houses built and surely two cars would not be fighting for access to their respective parking spots at exactly the same time every day. This idea might have been logical, but it did not take into account human nature, which is often not that logical.

For example, no one considered that one of the houses may have an owner that was too lazy to drive their car the whole length of the driveway and park it in the garage at the back. This owner might decide that they would just take over the one available access, park in it and bully the other owner into submission. There are probably more court cases over shared or mutual driveways filing through the city courts on any given day then any other land claim suits.

We have a mutual drive, which we share with very agreeable neighbours. However, we both have two cars each and given that our particular driveway is at a 45 degree angle and extremely narrow, both households have decided to park on the street. Well, so it seems has everyone else. There is a constant battle for parking spaces. Collectively we monitor how people park. Newcomers are asked to park between driveways to allow for two parking spots. However, this is only after we have tracked them down and pointed out that for the last month or so they have taken up two parking spots with one small car!

We instituted permit parking as well, to limit the parking to residents. However, if you have workmen in for a few days, they are deemed illegally parked and often get tickets. Unhappy contractors are not a good idea. Permit parking also limits visitors from parking more than an hour on the street. Not bad, if you have pesky in-laws, but difficult to have friends over for dinner, unless it's a bolt and run affair.

The article in the paper was about how workmen insure their parking spots, by lining the curb with pylons and threatening signs. I ignore these, of course and move the cones, so that I can park. However, once parked, I am loathed to leave because I could lose my spot. It makes for a lot of healthy walking :)

The picture? battlements in the parking wars :)

Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

House of the Living Dead ???

OK it is a little dramatic, but I am always amazed by the time and effort that some people put into celebrating Hallowe'en. The most avid start early, some as early as the end of September. Although there are pumpkins available in the stores before October, it's really too early to put them out, because the squirrels and raccoons will eat them. Also I have had a few just rot, if they have been carved and displayed too soon.

Haunted House?

However, this doesn't stop people from decorating the front of their houses with ghosts, spiders, skulls, you name it, the scarier the better. I always felt virtuous because I actually put out three carved pumpkins and hung around from 6:00 to 9:00pm on October 31 to hand out candies to Trick or Treaters. I know that some neighbours, after their kids had grown, just turned out the lights that night and went out for dinner.

Ghosts in the trees!!

No, I love the community involvement and I actually really enjoy the effort that some put in to create these dramatic effects. Often the house decorators get dressed up themselves, adding to the fun of shelling out!! I also love seeing the parents, who accompany their children from house to house, dressed up as well. When I took my kids around, I didn't get into costume, preferring to hang back in the shadows, however, I did spent months working on their outfits.

It seems like a lot of effort for one night, maybe this is why many start early!!

Have a great day!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


The other day I posted that I needed to connect to a few more twitter platforms. I like, but don't need, the app by which my plants can remind me to water them. I just have to take one look at their drooping leaves. This is not rocket science!!

No, the connection that I really want is Artwiculate. This program sends you a word a day and you have to use it in your 140 characters or less, then tweet the composition. The most retweeted one wins, or something like that! I use a few "word-a-day" sites, mainly for blog ideas. In most cases, I know and have used the word that I am given, such as today's word from, doleful, yesterday's was bromide and the day before, labyrinth - one of my favourites.

Well this is not the case with Artwiculate. Today's word is incommensurable - unable to be measured, irrational. I have never used this word before. In fact here are some of the words offered recently by Artwiculate. How many have you used lately :)

1. Simian - relating to, resembling or affecting apes or monkeys. Hmmm, does that mean us? My tweet: His lips curled back, when he laughed. It was another of his simian traits.

2. Gainsay - speak against or oppose someone. I have seen this one before, but never really understood its meaning and I am not really comfortable using it in a sentence. Maybe some words are just like that.

3. Animus - hostility or ill-feeling. I prefer using animosity. However, if you needed to make something rhyme, this would be a good choice. It rhymes with thus, plus, us etc.

4. Cerebrate - use the mind. Good when you want to show someone that you are really, really thinking. We like to celebrate when he cerebrates!!

Socks at Midnight

5. Macaronic - this could be easily confused with macaroni, marconi, moronic and a host of others. It actually means mixing two languages together. For example, combining French and English in a sentence or Latin and English. As in: Carpe the day, n'est pas, ciao .....Oh, and Italian :)

6. Arcanum - a deep secret, a mystery. With the word "crypt", we entered the arcanum of his mind.

7. Frigorific - chilling. It must come from the latin, fridge. :)

8. Reboant - resounding or reverberating. The orator's reboant words, echoed through the hall.

9. Renitent - recalcitrant. I always find it amusing when someone either answers a question, with a question or defines a word, with another that also needs defining :) The definition of both is - resistant to pressure.

10. Transpicuous - clearly seen through or understood. I think that I prefer transparent, but I can see how the word could be used to enhance a feeling of mystery.

The picture? An art installation at Nuit Blanche sponsored by the MacGregor sock company. It's meaning was not immediately transpicuous :)

Have a clearly wonderful day!!