We cannot just pay homage to those who lost their lives but everyone who survived any war is a victim, haunted by ghosts of the past. Every vet I ever met who survived in combat situations. And not just in wars past but those today. Families of survivors are victims too. My father’s family suffered with the scars and memories brought back by their loved ones as did most others. Putting on a brave face determined how one appeared to survive in life, but in the dark and at end of life even seventy or eighty years later every horror heard and seen could be recounted. Brave faces, broken hearts, broken souls. There are no winners. Ever.
My Octobers and Thanksgiving have little change from year to year. And that is something to be grateful for.
And special thanks given to those original commentators of six years ago who today are even more a part of my life, now sisters and comrades in life: Judith of New Zealand, Snipewife, Eliz at Mirth and Motivation, and of course Colleen the Chatter Master, and Joss who was a Crowing Crone back then and now author, and Winsome Bella, and dear dear Celi of Kitchensgardens and the Farmy,
Falling Off the Map
It’s amazing how one day of not blogging turns into two or three. I started a number of times each day just to wander off either physically or mentally. The notes below I did on Sunday basking in the warmth of a true summer like day.
This is my favorite holiday of the year, unsullied by commercialism, and stress, a true time of thanksgiving. Most years it is cold, many times snowy and the odd time like this year it is warm and sunny. When I say warm I mean like 70ish which is warm for the frozen north. I am outside, reclining under a cloudless sky, so blue it could be it could be a vast warm ocean, wearing summer togs and listening to leaves rustling from a gentle breeze. Somewhere distant there is the drone of a lawn mower.
This is the…
View original post 272 more words
..for a couple of days at least and not for any good reason but …here is what I learned today.
Some species of oysters have separate sexes, but their reproductive organs contain both sperm and eggs. They are able to change sex from year to year. Some oysters are hermaphrodites and theoretically can fertilize their own eggs. When food is abundant, females are prevalent, but when food is scarce, there are more males. Spawning is temperature-dependent, and occurs at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Females release millions of eggs at a time.
When an oyster larva is ready to settle, it grows a foot and finds a place to establish itself. Usually this is an adult oyster shell that is part of an oyster bed, but it might also be broken oyster or clam shells. The young oyster, known as a spat, cements itself to the new surface and slowly metamorphoses into an adult oyster. Oyster beds sometimes form reefs that create complex ecologies, stabilizing bottom sediment, creating breakwaters for shorelines, filtering and cleaning water and creating habitats for a great variety of marine wildlife, including barnacles, sea anemones, worms, crabs and an abundance of fish.
And the niggling question that would not let go? How do oysters procreate?
Sad to say the final installment..and the funniest line ever.. I’ve got to catch him before he spends it all on poetry or writing or whatever.”
And the final installment of our hero’s travels (or should that be travails?)
Because of one thing and another, it took me longer to get back to Port Naain than I originally envisaged. You know what it’s like; you bump into old friends you haven’t seen for absolutely ages. You decide that you’ll have ‘just one more glass’ and before you know where you are, you’re trying to persuade a local magistrate that performance art is specifically excluded from a score of petty regulations. At least in civilised jurisdictions.
But still, I had turned my face for home and I could almost smell the chife of Port Naain. Yet perhaps I’d delayed too long. As I set off for the last day’s march, it came as a surprise to discover that there had been some snow overnight. I suppose we who live in the city forget how soon winter can…
View original post 2,220 more words
Ah simple words, direct action, wisdom seemingly non existent today
Leadership in all sectors of human activities is the most debated subject in the modern-day corporation since a leader determines much in terms of the performance of his or her subordinates. Meaningful leadership therefore demands a certain level and quality of awareness that is uncommon of many people.
The authentic leader understand the need to break the psychological barriers between him and his subordinates and partners. I will elaborate this aspect with an anecdote of Abraham Lincoln during the civil war in America during the mid-1860s. Lincoln was a very wise man who had a penchant for recognizing true performance of his Generals in the war and was very cordial to them.
His unequaled humor explains a lot about his own innate spiritual evolution and cultivation since he always reasoned beyond the capacities of a leader of his level, a quality that makes him stand out from the long list…
View original post 139 more words
Good people…people who do…
His name is Jake Wood and his story started with a simple Facebook post: “I’m going to Haiti. Who’s in?” It was January 2010, and the island of Haiti had just suffered a devastating earthquake with a still-disputed death toll of between 100,000 and 315,000.
Jake had only been out of the U.S. Marine Corps for a few months, and was planning to enroll in business school when he began seeing the pictures of the devastation in Haiti and thinking how much it reminded him of similar scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan, where he had served two tours of duty. He realized that the skills he had acquired in the service, including the ability to adapt to difficult conditions, work with limited resources and maintain security in a dangerous environment, were sorely needed. And that was when he put out the Facebook message. Wood persuaded his college roommate, a firefighter…
View original post 1,169 more words
Such a simple thing. I would love to hear from people who actually sit together for even one meal in a day. Alas I cannot personally think of one.
Lunchtime in the classroom with fifteen preschoolers is very busy. Once containers are opened, hot foods are heated, milk straws are inserted into their boxes, and napkins are found, things change. Drastically. Lunch becomes intimate. Not quiet, but a place of comfort where children (and teachers) share their stories. Children talk about their dogs and cats, their grandparents, their sleepovers. They share what is on their mind, and also in their heart. It’s how we become a family– we are a family at school!
Lunchbox notes are a special treat for children. I make sure that I read the note to the child: “Happy first day of school, Ella” or “Have a fun day today at school, Josh.” Last week Savannah had a special lunchbox note:
My goodness– it was a song. And, it was Savannah’s favorite song. I knew this was special, so I started to sing the…
View original post 338 more words
HEAR YE! HEAR YE!
Did I not promise you of great things to come? I told you that I would be part of a team that would present fiction in a new way. I am installment eight. You know that little kid near the end of the line, costume on and ready to hit the stage and delight you. Then the IT gremlins came out to play and put a halt to things at about installment four or five, so just to get the you in the mood I started posting from the beginning the installments. Well! Gremlins conquered and we are ready to rock. So I am posting my part YEA! and below that I will have the links to the foregoing.
Visit Jim for more and more and more
Awakened and Enlightened
I decided it was time I made my way back towards home. One thing repeated exile teaches a poet is humility. Disappear to avoid the results of some unfortunate understanding and it doesn’t take long for people to either forget you or to shift the blame onto some other poor beggar who didn’t absent themselves so briskly. Hence I was sadly confident that my return to Port Naain would evocate little reaction.
I headed south to Port Naain, working my way down the coast. This is an area I know better and even have friends I can call upon. It was one of these friends who is largely responsible for my meeting up with the Venerable Order of the Awakened and Enlightened Siblings.
We lingered too long over breakfast, so that it made sense to take an early lunch, and it wasn’t until early afternoon that I finally set off. Thus I was still seven or eight miles short of my destination when I decided I really ought to look for somewhere to stay for the night. The first place I saw after making that decision was a sprawling old mansion set back from the road. It seemed in good repair, there were plenty of lights showing at the windows and by the gate was a sign announcing to the weary traveller that this was the monastery of the Awakened and Enlightened Siblings and that travellers were welcome to stay.
Thus encouraged I walked up the drive and pulled the bell pull by the main door. A middle aged lady in a long robe admitted me and led me through to a reception room where she proceeded to ask me various questions; the usual things, name, occupation, reasons for travelling. I admit to a degree of caution, as I felt it might not be entirely wise to go bandying about the name of Tallis Steelyard. So I merely said I was Torris Blurt, gave my profession as ‘clerk’ and said that I was travelling to Port Naain to seek employment.
I was shown to a small sparsely furnished room. All it contained was a sawdust stuffed mattress on the floor, but this was accompanied by what appeared to be an adequate number of blankets. There was a hand-pump in the yard for washing, and when ready I was encouraged to visit the guests’ dining room.
It seems that I was the only guest. So as I ate I had the undivided attention of the guest master who proceeded to expound the teachings of his order.
Their beliefs appear simple enough. That once one reaches a certain level of wisdom one realises that man is the only god man needs. This is called ‘the awakening.’ Once somebody is awakened they realise that it is the duty of the awakened to guide and govern the rest of the population who so obviously are incapable of governing themselves. These masses are known as the sleepers. But the awakened also realise that even they are not yet ready to govern, so they purify themselves by a strict diet, celibacy and abstaining from alcohol. Success in purification takes the initiate to the highest level when they become enlightened. It is to the enlightened that the populace should look for leadership and guidance.
Judging by the meal I ate, a dish of beans cooked in water, and served with some coarse bread; the recommended diet for the awakened or the masses was unlikely to include such things as meat. On the other hand I did get a glass of beer to drink. It was thin and sour and I recognised it instantly. It was ‘Abbot’s Ale’, sold by many taverns and inns in Port Naain. Even by the undemanding standards set by Port Naain brewers, it was bad.
So I tentatively asked the guest master about the ale. He held up a glass of the pale yellow liquid. “It serves two purposes. Firstly sales help to fund our order, so that we might continue our good work. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, those who drink this will not be drinking stronger drink, so it reduces drunkenness and encourages teetotalism. It is indeed fortunate that we sell such a lot of it.”
With that he poured me a glass of a fruit cordial. “This is what we encourage folk to drink instead and we supply it very cheaply to those places that take the ale.”
The fruit cordial was pleasant enough, but again I recognised it. In the sort of bar where folk drink ‘Abbot’s Ale’ it is customary for the person purchasing it to ask for their glass to be ‘fortified.’ The vendor would fill the tankard three-quarters full of the ale and then top it up with a mix of half fruit cordial and half cheap spirit. The resultant drink is, it must be admitted, considerably more pleasant than the straight ale, but one is advised not to drink too much of it. Opinions differ as to how much is ‘too much’. Personally I’d suggest the sensible limit is less than a full glass. I have known people drink it to excess and not merely lose any memories of that evening, but of the following three or four days as well.
The talk then drifted delicately to the topic of donations. I cheerfully pulled out my purse and poured a small quantity of low denomination copper onto the table. The one ‘silver’ coin contained so much lead it had bent and I gently straightened it out again. Given the whole heap wasn’t worth much more than the value of a glass of beer, he gracefully declined. I assume he thought I had more money secreted about my person, but he was mistaken. As befits a poet, my penury was entirely authentic.
He encouraged me to contemplate joining the awakened. He pointed out that only the wise and properly educated could govern the populace properly, and the masses could only benefit with members of the order guiding them. After all, with us to lead them by example into lives of frugality and sobriety the world would be a better place. Then as I grew in wisdom and understanding, I would inevitably rise to join the enlightened.
I said I would sleep on it, and made my way to my room. To be fair the mattress was not uncomfortable, and there were enough blankets so I slept tolerably well. Unfortunately I awoke early feeling distinctly hungry and was unable to get back to sleep. So I dressed and went down to the dining room. It struck me that I might find the makings of an early breakfast and then I could be on my way. The dining room was empty and there was no sign of anybody in the kitchen. I was a little surprised, but it wasn’t until I looked out of a window and saw the false dawn that I realised how early it was. I continued to drift through rooms like a particularly peckish ghost, until I came upon a short corridor I’d never noticed previously. I walked down it and opened the door at the far end. This led into a dining room rather more elegantly appointed than the one I had eaten in the previous evening. Was this perhaps for the enlightened?
There was a door off the dining room which led to a separate kitchen and a substantial pantry. Here I was indeed enlightened. I returned to my room, collected my cloak and the trusty wicker fishing creel which had served me so faithfully as a pack and made my way once more to the pantry. There I nibbled on honey-cooked sausages whilst contemplating my possible breakfast. In the end I took more sausages, several slices of cold roast ham, some bread which I sliced and buttered thickly to save time later, a honey comb and two bottles of a rather fine white wine. I also acquired a quantity of black pudding and bacon which I could offer as my contribution to the meal should I stop at some peasant household that night.
I slipped quietly out of the window, closing it gently after me and made my way back to the road. It did strike me that within the order, it was obvious that abstinence from alcohol and decent food was only a requirement for those lesser beings. These were rules that the enlightened were wise enough to set aside for themselves. Whether the rules set aside by those who adjudge themselves wise also included celibacy is a question I am afraid I cannot answer.
At this point it seems pertinent to mention that the story of Tallis’s escapades continues on other blogs. They will be reblogged in what may one day be accepted by biographers as the chronologically correct order on his own blog. Thus and so you can easily follow his gripping adventures.
Also, as an aside, the reason for this whole performance, (aside for being ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’) is that another volume of his anecdotes has been published. Containing some work that has never appeared on the blog, this is ;-
Tallis Steelyard. The Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens and other stories.
AND PREVIOUS LINKS TO BEGINNING CHAPTERS
The strangest thing happened yesterday and the thought of it stays with me today. I visit frequently and regularly with a dear relative who suffers from dementia. The kind of dementia doesn’t matter, it all translates to the same thing. Inability to communicate, to understand, to know.
I read once that someone asked an old man why he went to see his wife in the nursing home every day when she suffered from such severe dementia that she did not know him. He replied that yes she did not know who he was, but he knew who she was. I think of that so often.
Anyway, I am pretty much the only person who visits this dear soul and I do it because she is family, we have a long history and because I love her greatly. Her degree of dementia varies from day to day. Sometimes she knows who I am, most times she just knows I am a nice lady who visits her often. Sometimes she knows, and announces to everyone that I am her great great great…but cannot remember what.
I used to visit her in the mornings until it was time for her lunch but then the Home would call me in the evenings because that is when her agitation grew worse (It’s called Sundowners) and they would ask me to calm her if I could. So now I visit from about 3 pm to 5 pm and this seems to keep her grounded and most times content.
Our routine each visit is pretty much the same. Big hello and hugs and then I take her to a common area, make her a cup of tea exactly the way she likes it (the water must come to a rolling boil) and we look through magazines. Sometimes there are groupings of words that make sense and sometimes for a short while she is pretty accurate to somethings. Once she looked through a magazine and saw an article on MS and commented on it. I always put a few magazines out and when she finishes one she picks up another. She ended up picking up the same magazine she had just put down. I did not say anything and continued to peruse my own book, always keeping an eye on her.
As she flipped through the pages she said, ‘There must be a lot of MS about because here is another article about it.’ I only said, ‘Really?’
But that is not what I wanted to tell you. I always listen to every word she says even when they seem to make no sense. It seems the respectful thing to do.
After tea I take her to her room and help her to lie down to stretch out her back (other wise she is in her wheelchair all day) and then I read her Bible to her until it is time for her evening meal. She has read her Bible every day since she was a child but can no longer hold the book or read the print.
I always sit at the foot of her bed as I read. I stopped for a moment and she started to talk. Trying to tell me something but things like, ‘ I am a a a a airplane,’ would come out instead. And still I listened and suddenly, quietly, the strangest words were coming out of her mouth, ‘We have talked about it you know, the kindness. You coming here to be with me so much. Your kindness to me. Your kindness does not go unnoticed you know.’
She raised her hand and placed in over her heart, ‘I feel your kindness.’
She looked at me, very aware in the moment, and all I could say was, ‘I come because I love you.’
She raised her hand pointing up and said, ‘Do not love me, Love Him ‘In the time it takes to breathe out it was over and she began rambling on about a myriad of things none of which made any sense.
And I was touched.
Heeeere’s number 3. NOT as in third but as in the next chapter (installment with our friend Tallis Steelyard)
A Tallis Steelyard Tale
Written especially for us by a popular & prolific author
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Story: © Jim Webster, all rights reserved
Mental Health and Fantasy?
In a blog conversation about his newest Tallis Steelyard tales, The Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens and other stories, author Jim Webster disclosed that he was about to launch a blog tour, sharing stories from and about his protagonist, Tallis Steelyard.
I commented that if he had anything mental health related I’d be happy to participate.
His response was, “I was wondering if anybody else had ever introduced mental health issues into Fantasy Comedy of Manners!”
Quick as a flash, he penned the story that debuts below!
I am honored to be able to host it here.
A little background
This episode picks up our hero following his previous adventure, which those of you who…
View original post 3,079 more words