11-11-11 The Game is Afoot

Well it is a game and not a foot but somehow the old saying seemed apropos.  My friend Georgette has tagged me and for this rare moment  I am taking on the challenge with great vigor.  It’s time for some fun.  The kind of fun to stretch our minds and occupy our winter laden cob webbed brains.

The Rules

1. Post these rules. 2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you. 3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post. 4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them. 5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

 

Winter fun

Winter fun

Rules are posted – so far so good.

I took this photo yesterday morning when I had the boys outside for crisp sunny play. (then we went to lunch and an indoor playground, then swimming in the afternoon.  whew! So photo added – check!

Now for 11 random facts.

1)  No matter how tired or achy or old I feel, when there is a chance to romp, play or swim with my Grands I will do it.  That’s what analgesics were created for right?

2) My BFFs include Donna in Manitoba (I mean Mexico for the winter), my sisters and sister-in-law and a close circle of ladies with whom we play, dance, comfort encourage, support and commiserate.

3)  I have discovered over the  years that my band of women are the infrastructure to a good life.

4)  I have found that my male friends who were never romantic partners, are the best male friends for whom I need never appear perfectly coiffed figuaratively or literally.

5) I love using terms like ‘the game is afoot’.  Sayings more common to my  youth and perhaps more quizzical to youths. (Apparently the original phrase, according to phrases.org.uk came from Shakespeare’s King Henry 1v Part 1, 1597: – meaning the process is in active existence: for example ‘The teams are on the pitch- the whistle blows – the game is afoot”)

6)  I have been around since the days of horse-drawn ice wagons, and love the memories and in spite of staying active and current, occasionally find myself feeling dinosaurish, a feeling I fight again and again and…well you get the idea

7)  I struggle to write my stories and have just discovered a feeling of freedom when I loudly proclaim, “I am not a writer, I am a reader!”  The feeling of freedom is fleeting as there seems to be on going discussion within.  (I am also a big fan of alliteration).

8)  My sons are my ‘solid gold’ in this world and the next, and my pride and pleasure at the men they have become fills my heart with eternal joy and gratitude.

9)  There are judgements we heap upon our parents when we are children I think, that we don’t understand until we are adults with young one.  I have quiet conversations to myself with my long departed parents to let them know what I have now realized that I did not then.

10)  I eat a perfect diet and am perfect in my activity and exercise and thrill to every physical challenge of life.  (At least in my mind.  The intention is there.)

11)  I believe we should believe very little of what we are told, or accept very little of the world as it is; of its truths, be it from the government, teachers, or preachers.  There is ‘A Truth‘ hidden within all of it.  It’s up to you to find YOUR truth.  Do not be swayed by public opinion or common acceptances of anything.

The next post – part 2 will continue with the eleven questions Georgette asked me and my answers, and my eleven questions for you.

Meanwhile another photo from yesterday.

Sun and Snow

Sun and Snow

 

 

  • 11-11-11 (georgettesullins.wordpress.com)

This Writer: What I Learned on a White Sandy Beach in the Middle of Canada

Grand Beach

Grand Beach (Photo credit: Travel Manitoba)

About three weeks ago I spent an amazing eight days on the prairies in a nice little place called Lockport Manitoba.  Now, I had been to the city of Winnipeg in the past on business and did not care for the swarms of homeless who came out of recessed doorways in groups and surrounded me and frightened me so I had no desire to go anywhere in that province ever again.  Lesson one which should not need to be said:  Don’t judge people or a place based on one experience.

Then my dearest friends relocated to Lockport to be closer to family and friends so a little reluctantly I boarded a Westjet and headed out.  Lockport itself and its surrounding beauty will have to wait for another time because today is about the beach.  An easy drive my second day took us to Grand Beach Manitoba.

Now in my experience, Canada does not have a lot of Caribbean comparable beaches, and certainly none that stretch for miles of white sand and dunes.  Shallows extend quite far into the lake making it an ideal playground for families, young people, and seniors.  The second lesson is pretty closely tied to the first:  If you haven’t been somewhere don’t assume it doesn’t exist.  Funny thing is that mountains, rivers and prairies often depict Canada in photos but I can’t remember ever seeing a beach quite like this one.

Grand Beach is fresh water of course, so no, there was no pounding surf.  It lies on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg which is the sixth largest lake in Canada at 9,465 square miles.  The first five comprise of three Great Lakes, Huron, Erie, and Superior, and the other two are in the NWT (Northwest Territories), and are called Great Bear and Great Slave Lake.

I never have considered myself an ornithologist as I can pretty well only identify Blue Jays, Red Winged Blackbirds, Robins, and Sparrows.  Oh and Hummingbirds.   But darned if I didn’t learn a couple more things that enriched the experience.  Lesson three:  Birds are incredibly interesting especially when seen in their natural habitat.

Piping Plovers

PIPING PLOVERS (charadrius melodus) are an endangered species of bird protected on Grand Beach.  They are a small sandy colored sparrow sized bird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel. (Just as an aside there are two more things I learned – Manitobans – uh Manitobians – people in Manitoba take their wild life and food markets very seriously – but that’s another story.)

American White Pelican

AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS (pelicanus erythrorohynchos).  Go figure.  If I was on a game show like Jeopardy and my fortune depended on my knowledge of Pelicans in Canada I would be going home in a sorry state.  This spectacular aquatic bird breeds in the North American interior and migrates south each year.  Including its long huge beak it can be between 50 – 70 inches in length and has a wing span of 95 – 120 inches.  Is that amazing or what?  Its bill is flat on top with a large throat sac that allows it to scoop fish out of the water.  Now that is what I call ‘fast food’.

Our Pelicans are both smart and naughty.  They are smart enough that in shallow water they form a line or a semicircle and corral fish.  The naughty part is that they suffer from Kleptoparasitism which means they steal food from other birds.  Thieves they are.  Their victims can be other Pelicans, Gulls, or Cormorants.  Wikipedia reports that at least on one occassion the victim was a great Blue Heron who lost its treasure mid-flight.

Now some of you are shaking your heads and saying you knew all this but it was new and exciting for me and here is the last lesson: Just because I am old(er) and at times feel like I have the wisdom of Methusala  never ever assume that there is nothing I can’t continue to learn and that learning is still exciting.

Now before I dash off to find out what the heck a Cormorant is I will leave you with a wee limerick my father liked to recite to us as children written by Edward Lear.

A wonderful bird is the Pelican.

His beak can hold more than his belly can.

He can hold in his beak

Enough food for a week!

But I’m darned if I know how the hellican!

 

 

 

Scottish Invasion Recedes, Next Step Winterpeg

Well, Monday and ‘Oh the Plots We Weave’ has come and gone.  Not much news to have fun with anyway around here in these suddenly less summery and more autumny kind of days.  As my friend Celi called it yesterday in her post ‘that gentle late summer slide.’

There have been body parts showing up in the Mississauga and Toronto area and the school teachers may end up going on strike (again) which will delay the start of the school year but no wonderful ‘what ifs’ to get from any of that.

Our fave cuz has returned to Scotland taking with her some fine memories and leaving a strange void which will take time to get over.  This dear gracious woman left Saturday past to race back in hopes of enjoying some remnant bit of summer that had eluded her until she arrived here.  Well not entirely true.  After a couple of months of daily rain showers on the home front she looked forward to the 30 degree heat wave we boasted. Until the day her plane set down in Toronto bringing with it our very first thunderstorm of the season.  The funniest part was the morning she awoke, checked FB to see her son had written that it was nice to wake up and not have his sunburn hurt.  It seemed old Sol made an appearance just as she left.

Actually the weather was pretty good here and did not rain on our parade too much and it sure was nice some of that brown earth actually turned green and at times lush.

So now here on the mountain I get ready to leave to visit friends in Winnipeg and will fly out early evening for 8 days.  Now Winnipeg  is the capital of Manitoba just less than a thousand miles to the west of us. They have branded themselves ( according to one site) as the cultural cradle of the country.  I am not sure that is entirely the case – whether it is more so or less so than a hundred other locations in Canada.  The French were the first settlers in 1738 and named it Fort Rouge.  Almost a hundred years later it was renamed Fort Garry and finally after 150 years of messing around between the First Nations, the Metis, the French and the British it became Winnipeg in1873, which is a much better name since it so easily converts to its winter ID – Winterpeg.  Wikipedia states that Winnipeg is the coldest city in the world with a population of over 600,000 based on the average night-time temperature from December to February, inclusive.

It is of course my intention to be and gone before any suggestion of winter winds appear.  I have not seen, (other than Skype) these dear friends for more than a year.

Posting may be sporadic – but I will be thinking of  you and post as soon as…..

Oh by the by …my friend Joss is preparing for a big exam please do stop by and cheer her on!

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