Category Archives: Uncategorized

Yes, I Suffer From TDS


This, That, and The Other

TDSTrump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is a mental condition in which a person has been driven effectively insane due to their dislike of Donald Trump, to the point at which they will abandon all logic and reason.

I admit it. I suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome. But it’s not because I’ve abandoned all logic and reason. It’s because I’m still clinging to logic and reason.

You see, I think any rational, thinking person should, as I do, believe that Donald Trump is a threat to our American democracy. I see disturbing connections between how fascism and authoritarianism took hold in other countries and what is occurring in the United States at present. And it scares the shit out of me.

And apparently I’m not alone. The American Psychological Association noted in a recent survey that 57% respondents said “the current political climate” was a top source of angst in their lives. More people…

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A Blog Tour

Judith this is a wonderful post! Thank you for introducing me to Zoe!

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

Those of you who have followed my blog for some time, know that I am a fan of Zoe Sharp,  and particularly her protagonist Charlie Fox. Well, now Zoe has created and published a stand-alone novel, “Dancing on the Grave” If you would like to read an excerpt from the book, click here.

Dancing on the grave

I looked forward to reading this book and must thank Ayo Onatade for inviting me to join the tour and to Zoe for providing an advance copy of the book for review

There are 11 other bloggers in the tour. Here’s the programme.


All of these bloggers are new to me, but won’t be for long. What a good group Zoe and Ayo have put together.

Note – If you are having problems reading the sites, email me, or leave a comment, and I will send you a word doc.

My review of the book will be…

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Judge not…

The path to self-improvement, self-awareness, or whatever you want to call it is rocky, winding, convoluted, strewn with obstructions (I suspect of our own making), and littered with shiny objects designed to distract us, and keep us from reaching truth.  I don’t know why it is this way.  I just think it is.

For truth is where improvement lies.  And of course you all know by now what I think of truth.  It like ‘fact’ is merely a perception.  So is truth that personal a thing?  Truth or the perception of truth is so personal that it can only be my truth, and not necessarily your truth?

I am seventy-one and no closer to wisdom than the day I was born.  Is truth wisdom? Or does wisdom lead us to truth?  I think of these things every time I learn something new about myself.

Recently I discovered that under the guise of love I have been judgmental.  Judging the actions of those I love, but not realizing it was judging, rather thinking it was love mixed with ennui and fear?

How did this epiphany occur?  By discovering that those who love me (give your head a shake if necessary, I am not talking about romantic love) have in fact been judging me.  This all came about because of a decision I made about something, that, while it did not impact my nearest and dearest caused them to make a judgement. About me.  “Well she shouldn’t have done that.”

When this came to me through a conversation designed to explain concern my initial reaction was, “??”

I mentally objected that my nearest and dearest were judging me.  There is no question that they love me.  And they think their concern is in my best interest.

That’s when it hit me.  The awareness really had nothing to do with them but it acted like a mirror.  That’s when I realized that I sat in judgement of those I loved.  It did not change my love for them.  But I discovered a few uncomfortable things:

  1. When you sit in judgement of anyone, you place yourself above them.
  2. You may think you are loving them, but when you judge, that is not love. It is judgement.
  3. To truly love you must not judge but must accept. Right or wrong you accept.
  4. Your love provides a safe place. You are the rock.
  5. We are all human. We make the worst decisions at times.  And at those times those who love us never stop.
  6. There are no conditions to love. (If you do this and don’t do this I will love you)

The most difficult thing is to realize that no matter how old you are there are always lessons to learn.  And even more humiliating is the realization that so many others recognize the Truth long before you.

I know one thing;

I will never again judge those as right or wrong, those whom I love.

This is not about me.

Children’s Quarrel

4) Children's Quarrel

Our current picture shows Elanar, a nursery nurse, with her charge, the young Avia Hassenbut. I’m not sure whether our artist knew the significance of the principals in his painting, or whether he merely saw a charming scene but there is a story which is well worth hearing.

Really this is Elanar’s story; when young Avia grows up she will doubtless spark stories of her own, but on this occasion she must take second place to somebody older.

As a child Elanar was raised by a series of aunts. Born in Port Naain, her mother died when she was very young, and she got passed around the family, collecting cousins as she went as various temporary guardians died or remarried or otherwise became unavailable for childcare. Eventually she, and her two boy cousins, Karad and Brance ended up in Avitas with their final aunt, and the fourth cousin, a girl named Bethom.
In Avitas the three children seemed to overcome the trauma caused by their itinerant youth and settled down. The older three were inseparable. Bethom was always slightly detached from them; she was still living with her family and was always constrained to act as the hostess, rather than being an equal co-conspirator in their games.

So when at the age of eighteen, Karad inherited a small estate not far from Mostrain, deep within Partann, it was inevitable that Brance and Elanar went with him. It was equally inevitable that Bethom, who at this point was apprenticed to a ladies hairdresser in Avitas, remained behind.

Once settled near Mostrain, it was to be expected that the three cousins (closer than cousins, I’ve known siblings who were less close) decided to become involved in local society and attempted to provide suitable careers for Brance and Elanar.

Their opportunity came when at a social event in Mostrain, they were introduced to the young Robber Baron who had taken over the Keep on Muster Head. Within a week Elanar had made herself his mistress and within a month Brance and Karad were his trusted lieutenants.

Things would doubtless have proceeded well enough were it not for an Urlan ‘villaging’ expedition.

Villaging is a popular pastime among Urlan, both for sport, experience and to burnish their escutcheons. As you no doubt surmise, the basis is to ride from village to village, offering to slay any particularly irksome fell beasts, even minor demons, although parties have ridden through Partann offering to remove tyrannical local lordlings as well. Indeed if some petty baron has a bad enough reputation the Urlan might merely remove them without being asked. Thus it was that the gaze of a party of Urlan fell upon the Lord of the Muster Head Keep.

To be fair to the young lord, he did not lack courage. He rode out with the best of his horsemen, intending to ambush the Urlan. He felt, not unreasonably, that merely waiting for them to attack him was tantamount to suicide. Because Brance and Karad were his trusted lieutenants, he discussed his strategy with them and with Elanar. Because he was a Partannese robber baron and no fool, he took Brance with him as lieutenant and hostage and left Karad in charge of the Keep.

Both Karad and Elanar waited his return, watching anxiously from the top of the tower which guarded the landward gate of the keep. So when the Urlan ambushed the young Lord, the two cousins could see the shattered remnants of the Muster Head force fleeing towards the keep with the Urlan in close pursuit. Elanar took charge. She gave orders for the gates to be shut, the portcullis to be dropped and the drawbridge to be raised.

Karad protested, pointing out that Brance might be alive and out there. Elanar told him to remain on the walls with a rope and if Brance arrived, to pull him up using the rope. Telling him she was going to rally the garrison she left him.

She picked two dozen men whom she felt she could trust, and with them, emptied the keep’s treasury. This she had loaded onto a twenty oared galley that was kept by the water gate. As the last of the treasure was loaded, she heard the sound of a petard exploding on the main gate, followed by the cheers and war cries of the Urlan as they rode in.

She didn’t hesitate; she gave her men orders to take up their oars, and herself pushed off from the wharf. As she did so, Karad rode out of the water gate and threw himself into the water to swim after them. Judging the galley was already low enough in the water to give cause for nervousness, she held out an oar for him to grasp. As he reached for it, she raised it and brought it down firmly on his head. She then ordered her men to pick up the stroke and the galley headed for the open sea.

To an extent she was lucky. The first Urlan through the gate rescued Karad rather than drawing his bow. Thus by the time he could concentrate on archery, the galley was out of range. On the other hand, she was also unlucky. The Urlan had commenced hanging those of their prisoners who had an unsavoury reputation, but decided it was unfair to hang Karad before he was capable of understanding what was happening, and as Brance volunteered to nurse his cousin, they didn’t hang Brance either.

Next morning, with Karad recovered, both young men were led to the gallows and asked if they’d anything to say. Karad merely commented that he regretted being hanged before he had the chance to avenge himself on the woman who had betrayed them both. The Urlan saw the funny side of this, and not merely released the two men but also released enough of their prisoners to allow them to crew the other, forty oared galley, which was still tied to the wharf.

Late next day, Elanar and her galley were at the mouth of the Dreg estuary, and in the distance behind them they could see a larger and faster galley slowly closing upon them. Elanar rapidly made up her mind and brought her galley into the fishing village of Quaydreg. She had her men stack the treasure in the common room of the local inn, the Boatman. Then she had her men prepare to defend the quayside to repel their pursuers.

As her men were arraying themselves she went back into the Boatman, and with the four warriors who had been left to guard the treasure, she loaded it onto a horse drawn cart which she’d had brought up to the back door. The cart was barely loaded when the sounds of battle could be heard from the quay. Telling her men to follow her, she charged through the inn towards the fray. They followed and overtook her, thus allowing her to return to the inn, bolt the front door and run to the back where she climbed onto the cart and whipped it up.

The problem with horse drawn carts is that whilst they are faster than men on foot, they are rarely faster than angry men on borrowed horses. She arrived in the village of Tithequay just ahead of the horsemen. As she drove through the village she started scattering coin on the road and soon the street was in chaos with people blocking the road trying to recover it. Even so the horsemen were closing, so as she crossed the bridge over the river Dreg she slewed the cart across the road to block it. Then she grabbed a chest from the cart, cut both horses free and rode off at speed on one of them.

Two days later she arrived in Prae Ducis before dawn. She bribed the gate keeper to let her in early. She then took passage to Port Naain, and arrived in the city with little more that the clothes she stood up in and respectable amount of silver. By respectable, I mean that I, as a poet, consider it a lot of money. A usurer on the other hand would doubtless dismiss it as barely worth the effort of investing.

So she needed work. She noticed that the Hassenbut family were advertising for a Nursery Nurse. She spent most of her silver on a suitable wardrobe and at the interview convinced them she was the perfect person to look after their daughter. Thanks to a reference forged in the name of her cousin in Avitas she was taken on. Thus when Brance and Karad arrived in Port Naain to look for her, she was invisible, safe within the bosom of a wealthy family.

In fact, were it not for the fact that she was now nurse to Avia Hassenbut, one might say she had, in some manner of speaking, ‘got away with it.’

Tallis Steelyard, the festival, and other stories_

Tallis Steelyard and Jim Webster proudly present

Tallis Steelyard. The Festival, and other stories.

Available from

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. In here
Tallis touches upon child rearing, politics as a performance art, the joy of
dance and the advantages that come with good manners. Discover why Madam
Dolbart was forced to constantly hire new cooks, marvel at the downfall of
Dash Blont, lecher, libertine, and philanderer . Whatever happens, do not
pass through life without knowing of the advantages to be gained by an early
morning pick-me-up of horse dung spread fine on toast. You too can be
charming and elegant once you know how. For a mere 99p all this and more can
be yours.

Find and follow Tallis (and Jim)

Jim Webster may be found  at his blog, on TwitterFacebook and on his Amazon author page.

Tallis Steelyard may be found loitering at his own blog while their book have their own Facebook page

Yes or No


Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

People are often told they need to say “No” more.  Wanting to please becomes a way of life, so when asked to do something, they immediately reply “Yes”, before they’re even thought if they actually want to do it, or have time to do it.  So a movement of sorts was formed, one that gave people. especially women, the power that saying “No” was acceptable, indeed, preferable in many situations.

I do believe that everyone has the ability to say “No” to any situation, regardless of the reason.  No one should ever feel obligated to do something.


Shonda Rhimes wrote a book, “Year of Yes”, which basically detailed how saying “Yes” changed her life.  So have we gotten hasty with our use of the word “No”?

If something goes against your personal code of ethics, you need to say no.  There is no situation that should ever make you…

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Time for a New Adventure

I am happy to introduce any of you to my dear friend and cohort for those who might not have made her acquaintance!

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

“…there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
― Mary Oliver

Once again in this aged adventurer’s life, a new phase is opening up.

I am fortunate that many years of proofreading, copy-editing and/or beta reading for friends and acquaintances has turned into a business opportunity.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, I offer


I am an established Proofreader/editor with many years’ experience in proofreading and copy-editing fiction and non-fiction novels, short stories, manuscripts, Children’s books,, theses, E-books, and more.

My services focus on making your words look, sound and appear polished. I will check spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc. If your document is longer than 1000 words (which…

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New and Different Stuff

December 9th holds no special meaning to me other than it is, of course, December 9th.  But yesterday was December 8th and it was a day of epiphany, of sorts.

funnier yoga

*this cartoon from Pinterest is just way toooooo real….

I’ve been draggy lately (in terms of months not days), and it occurred to me that my physical exercise had decreased.  Significantly.  Gym had gone by the wayside, swimming drifted away on a tide of farewell, and walking, which I did religiously every day to the tune of ten thousand steps largely took place in my brain only.  Not largely, entirely.  December 8th I thought about just tightening my abds and discovered neither my body nor brain remembered quite how it was supposed to go.  So that got me thinking about today – which of course yesterday was tomorrow.  A day I had already decided would be dedicated to a deep pre-Christmas cleaning, possibly in hopes of St. Nick visiting but more likely due to mating dust bunnies frolicking around my feet.

Well once I decided to do something so outside my nature my brain started thinking.  Why not make it a day of new or different stuff?  Push myself a bit.   I remembered that a few days previous an acquaintance mentioned that there is a program on TV called ‘Healing Yoga’ and it is on at 6 a.m. in the morning.  At the time the term Healing Yoga appealed though the early hour did not.

I have been retired for almost seven years and argue with myself all the time about wanting to sleep in.  Unfortunately most of my life interests occur in the morning so I set my alarm dutifully for 7:30 which necessitates ongoing grumbles.  I have also come to believe that sleeping in is such a waste of life since my life span has been considerably shortened by advancing age and I need to make good use of every minute left.

About 9ish last night the thought came to me that I should consider doing the Yoga show.  It resulted in a rather brisk discussion between myself and I, with accusations of having taken leave of my senses, it was Saturday and one sleeps in if at all possible barring the Rapture or a call to duty if one works.  I  had to be strong and take control of my slothful tendencies so I did the only thing I will listen to.  I called my middle sister to tell her of my plan.  I figured if I told someone it would strengthen my resolve.  She was in the midst of watching her fave hockey team bite the dust, (or rather the ice) and chuckled merrily at my plan.  ‘I will call and tell you how it went,’ says I.  By now I think she was rolling on the floor in merriment and she cautioned, ‘That’s fine. JUST DON’T CALL ME AT 6!

Before retiring I dug my ancient Yoga Mat out of a cupboard and tried to unroll it. I finally placed bar stools at each end so it would be flat when I stumbled from bed in the morning.

I set my alarm, did not sleep well wondering what 5:50 a.m. was going to feel like, and awoke at the appointed time.  I took care of immediate morning needs, decided to exercise in my pjs and turned on the TV.

Deborah Devine according to Zoomer media ‘leads and easy to follow gentle yoga class’.  It struck me as a little ironic as she said the exercises we were about to follow were for relaxing to ensure a good night’s sleep.  Having awakened early I tried blocking the idea of a good night’s sleep from my mind.  At least the idea put a smile on face for the duration.

How was it?  Not bad considering….I was pretty busy watching and listening to concentrate on doing it well but..not bad at all.  It also gave me a bird’s eye view of some not recently dusted spots and corners so it provided motivation for the rest of my day.

Zoomer TV and magazine is designed for Canada’s Zoomers, those 45+, so really a bunch of kids to me, but I think I just might give this a bit of a go.  After all I am retired and if I need to nap in the middle of the day I can certainly do so.

I can hardly wait to see what else this wonderful day holds for me…..


OOOOO the Excitement: Bringing Home Hemingway

I get ridiculously excited about fresh empty notebooks and thanks to our country’s faux Black Friday sales I found this soft leather inscribed beauty at Chapters for 50% off. My  Christmas is now complete.  Uh unless you have another gift for me of course … but the bar is now set pretty high…

leather journal