Tag Archives: postaday2012

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!

 

 

 

Let’s Pretend Tuesday is Monday: Oh the Plots We Weave

I know!  I know!  There is a large percentage of people who hate Mondays.  Really hate them.  That first workday of the week signifies the end of weekend fun and the beginning of toil.  Now you see, for me, Mondays have always been about new starts, list of goals and objectives to be reached.  A day of such optimism.  Fridays conversely are not so much as I must come to terms with what I did not achieve.

Today ( Monday) is always ‘Oh The plots We Weave’ day when we look at a couple of actual news stories and comment of ‘what ifs’.   This sort of came about when I would post on a news piece and generally rant or comment.  Then I got thinking, this is where stories and books come from.  News stories, observing momentary interactions and letting our imaginations fly.

So first thing right out of the front page of the HAMILTON SPECTATOR there are 2 items which caught my eye and my ‘Oh Lord where is the sanity when you need it’ button.

1)  FATHER SUES PUBLIC BOARD OVER ITS GAY EQUITY STAND   Oh Boy, this isn’t even some backwoods notion, it comes straight from the mind of Eustathios ‘Steve’ Tourloukis a dentist in Smithville.  His claim is that as a praciticing member of his Greek Orthodox Church his rights are being violated.

Now now children, play nice.  Would someone please point out to our dentist that this province provides a large number of Christian Churches with the sole purpose of raising students in the environment you desire and that his child or children are part of a PUBLIC school.  You know Public as in every one of every denomination is free to attend.

‘ What if”?  What kind of plot could we develop from this little bit of information?  Well it could be the father has to loudly decry the learning material because he is in a personal secret struggle from these very urges…nah that is too common a thread.  ‘What if’  ..ah you know what?  Whichever way this plot goes it could be trouble.  Can you think of anything provoking?

2)  COURT ORDERS LONG-GUN DATA TO BE TRANSFERRED TO QUEBEC  I have to admit that there are a couple of things about Canada that make me squirm a bit perhaps even to the point of embarrassment and the Gun Registry is one of them.  Several years ago a registry was put in for guns.  It was badly managed, very expensive and about as effective as flying into the sun.  So now in a fit of rare insight it was decided to take down, nullify, disband, destroy, the long-gun registry.  In doing so the government continuing of its life long mission to give meaning to ‘stupid’, ‘most stupid’, decided to also destroy all the information they had gathered on the registry quest.  One province spoke up – Quebec – who is trying to keep its portion of the registry alive.  The Quebec court said the government has no right to destroy registry data….

‘What if”?  We created a super hero to fight stupidity –  faster than a speeding bullet? Where to start? Where to start?  Well first there will be the need to gather up all politicians and give each one’s head a good shake so they in fact will have their heads on straight.  Could you imagine a world where everyone was sane in political arenas?

What if then our dentist had the same thing happen?  Hello!  A moment of clarity!  I think I will send my child to a school that does meet my requirements for education.

**Please note there are far and wide implications in each of these cases.  There is also more detailed info that one needs to consider before being pro or con.  The only consideration I have presented in the subject matter as a possible story line or plot.  Besides the fiction will certainly be more interest than the reality of it all.  I think.

Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Meaningful Possessions

I am a little late to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge Being Saturday and all.  The subject matter is ‘ tell us about your most meaningful possession and since I have spent most of my life making sure that possessions were not meaningful, I honestly thought I had nothing to contribute.

Then last night outside under the stars I asked myself that same question and the answer came crystal clear.  I do have one possession that matters.  Would I fight to the death over it?  No, but while I have it with me I will savor the meaning and remember.

Dad's leather purse
Most Meaningful Possession

My Dad is not someone I write an awful lot about which always puzzles  me because he was the center of my existence.  While my mother tried to teach me how to darn socks (darned if I could understand why – being the diva I was I could not see myself ever darning anything), and knit and keep the house cool in  the summer by pulling down the blinds on the east side in the morning and on the west side in the afternoon, my Dad taught me other things.

Have you found it surprising, if you have ever had to clean out a home after someone dies, what seemed important to that person?  Have you ever held an object and wondered why it was stored in a tin box with other seemingly meaningless objects?

When it was time to do this for my father there were a number of treasure found.  His gold ring with his initials had been left to me but I decided it should go to the oldest son of the oldest son and gave it to my brother for his son.

There was one treasure I was not even aware of until about ten  years ago (and Dad died in 1981).  The gift came from my sister.  I wondered at it at first as it was a small suede leather bag measuring three and half inches at its base, two inches at its neck and five inches in length.  And leather tie to tighten it.  Engraved into the leather appears to be a Mayan calander or something zodiac like.  I truly do not know exactly what it is.  This bag and other ‘treasures’ were kept in an old tin box in his top drawer.  It was a pretty beat up tin box and I remember seeing it as a young child and wishing I could see inside.

Anyway I thought this was a strange gift but I was touched deeply and then my sister said, “open it”.

Inside were five pennies, each with the birth year of my brothers and sisters and me, and one nickle with my birth year.

Meaningful possessions

The feeling of holding something my dad felt was important enough to be a tin box treasure and understanding the depth and the heart of my sister was overwhelming.

There has never been another gift that has meant as much and each time I pull that leather string to close the bag I feel like I am ensuring my family is tucked in safely.

Die for it if I had to?  You know what?  Just maybe!

FITFS Judith Baxter

Each Friday I devote a post to someone in my hero group from the Blogosphere.

Heroes are important to our lives, unlike the ‘experts’ I wrote about this week, they are individuals who inspire us and make our lives better and more fulfilling by their very existence and actions.  Real people who make us better by their example.

Judith Baxter lives in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.  Originally from England, she and her Dashing Young Scotsman settled in New Zealand.  Her trusty companion is Lotte an adorable Tibetan Spaniel.

Since the passing of her mother and then the premature death of her husband Judith made a decision to ‘choose how I will spend the rest of my life’.

Judith lives with intention and is a certified life coach, mentor, author and facilitator.  What I most admire is that she has defined her values which are Gracious, Generous, Loving, and Radiant.

Family is very important to her, especially her four fine grandsons.  Judith shares her insights with every post and it would be impossible to choose one.

Judith’s very first post on March 1, 2011 was titled, ‘I choose how I will spend the rest of my life and in I she talked about her mother’s last years and her mission “about keeping the mind active….”. She says, “I know our thoughts determine the results we achieve…”

When I think of Judith I think of silk, satin, heart of gold, and soul of goodness.

Today’s post is a recommendation to read Dr. Wayne Dyer‘s book, ‘Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life and the wisdom of Lao-tzu.

So please do stop by and say hi and take a dip in her pool of wisdom.  Bathing suits not required.

This Writer – Reality – Show or No Show

This Writer

Reality is such a strange thing not at all reflective of what TV calls reality shows.  No such thing I think.  It’s a non real idea of whatever quirky presentation will click with the public.  That’s you and me – the public.

My mind continually tried to wend its way deep into the fabric, the fibre of our existence.  How much is real and how much is a bill of goods sold to us because we have been trained to believe, even embrace ‘experts‘.

The whole ‘expert’ idea sis somewhat silly for every ‘expert’ touting A there is another touting B.

My BFF and I found this a few years ago when each of us argued about nail and hair growth post-mortem.  I supplied documented scientific corroborated information on one side of the argument and she sent me information equally reliable from other scientific sources saying just the opposite.  I think that is when I started to question so many declarations of truth and reality.  If the experts don’t agree then wherein lies the truth.

In 1972 my first son was born and there was no question about circumcision and you had to give a pretty good argument why you would not want it.  In 1975 my second son was born and then ‘the experts’ changed their mind and you had to argue exactly why you wanted it done.  This past week in the news ‘experts’ now say all male babies should be circumcised.  A number of expectant mothers were interviewed and said, “Well if the experts recommend it then that is what I will do.

In the sixties a protein rich diet was common.  Then western society began to get more obese (no one thought to say stay away from MacDonalds or Red Barn or any other fast food joint), instead the experts cried, “CARBS!”  Then society grew more obese on pasta. Competition became more fierce in the dining industry as more people went out for food, and the portions became unreasonably large (would you like to King Size that?) to make the consumer feel like they were getting the best bang for their buck.

It is unfortunate that we have come to idolize letters, (BA, MBA, PHD) and will believe whatever they choose to feed us.

It makes me wonder a couple of things:  1. we know longer trust our judgement in what we are being told.  We just believe the experts.  2. what if everything we have been told is malarky?  There are too many people willing to believe someone else.  I think we are losing our ability to think for ourselves.

I have long suspected that having to have a certain number of calories a day or a specific amount of vitiamins and nutrition might also be garbage.  Governments, dieticians, people selling all say so.  You know the ‘experts’.  Well guess what?  The other day on the news it was reported that scientists have now found that what we eat is less important than how much we eat and that in fact the human body can do with way less than recommended AND that if you want to live a long life you must eat much less.

Actually that sounds more reasonable to me, but friends who have bought into the whole nutrition thing are shocked that I would even utter such a thought.

The worst thing I think is that all the 60’s folk who questioned ‘ who am I’ and don’t believe ‘the man’ are now the biggest supporters of believing whatever others want to feed us.

Personally I think I am going to question everything.  I can prove my theory but alas debate is futile because so can any one disgreeing.  We need to stop appointing people as ‘experts.   Degrees mean nothing in the grass roots thinking world.

Hmm that was almost a rant wasn’t it?  Oh well now I have to go and consider the reality of rants.  Y’all have a good day.

Oh The Plots We Weave for Monday Sept. 3, 2012

 

by tamo_konichi photobucket Oh the Plots We Weave

 

It seems there is so much to tell you about my week on the prairies and so little time. Actually I’ve figured there has been lots of time but I am using it poorly.  Definitely unproductive.  Why?  Because of my old friend Fibromyaligia who insists on showing up and demanding attention every time I take flight, whether it is for two hours or eight hours.  My energy levels are depleted and probably floating at 35,000 feet looking for a home.  So there you go.  By last evening it looked like Mr. or Ms. F. might have just a short visit, but this morning I knew….

Enough of the Whining and Snivelling.  I shall try to at least get back on schedule so we now look at a couple of true life reports from our local newspaper The Spectator.

1) London England hosts a $250 million tantrum between two Russian Billionaires.  This could be a rather dull story of he says, she says, however being at the billion dollar level the extravagance and the Scarlet O’Hara drama of it all it may make a good movie.  So to start:

At the cost of $200 – $250 million dollars in legal costs Boris Berevosky is pouting that he was ‘menaced’ (brilliant word here), into accepting $1.3 billion dollars from Roman Abromovich for his Sibneft holdings.  Abromovich then sold his shares four years later for $11.9 billion dollars.

I am thinking that the only person who could make a good story about this, as at its base it is such a pathetic nauseating story, would be Quentin Taratino who could pulp up the fiction and turn it into a dark comedy with a get what you deserve ending.

2) And then of course also from Russia with not so much love there is the ‘Pussy Riot’ message in blood story.  Seems a Moscow university  instructor, Igor Danilevsky killed two women in an apartment and left a message in blood to free members of the Pussy Riot feminist punk band who had been sentenced to two years in prison.

First ‘What if’ : Igor claims he wrote the message to mislead police when in fact it was a simple crime of passion.  Now this could be plot twisted every which way from Sunday but suppose it was a cover up of a cover up.  It was a crime of passion but not involving the victims but the members of the punk band as originally presented but not for obvious reasons.  Hmm I wonder…..

Second ‘What if’…Igor made a statement saying ‘I confess to everything.’  I don’t know about you but left over sentiment of the cold war and James Bond would deem this statement as manufactured.  Too clean.  Too easy.  Intrigue is just oozing out of each printed word begging to reveal….

Third ‘What if’…. What if Igor had discovered indiputable proof against both London case Russians Roman and Boris that would have lead to each of them having to play nice in the sand box of billionaire lives, who had poor Igor framed and having to live life forever associated with a punk band of less than charming title?

Any thoughts?

Congratulations again to Katherine Gordon Levine for being last Friday’s FITFS hero.  And condolences to Celi and all the fans of Mary’s Cat who is MIA.  I still remember when Mary’s cat showed up at the farmy.  I like Celi’s advice not to be sad and regardless of the time together, “This is just as great a love.  One years is as good as twenty, if we are wide awake.”

FITFS – Katherine Gordy Levine

FITFS

We all have heroes, or at least I hope we all do.  I use ‘hero’ generically like actor.  It holds no connotation of gender for me.  Some of my heroes, as you know, are the authors of blogs that I read regularly and this week Following In The FootSteps series highlights them one at a time to honor and thank them.

Today’s hero is Katherine Gordy Levine of Emotional Fitness fame.  Katherine’s published books are available on Amazon and include:  When Good Kids Do Bad Things: A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers, Tame the Test Anxiety, and Monster  (again – in case the linkly thing doesn’t work you will find her at Emotionalfitnesstraining.com

There are a lot of things I admire about Kat but I think my faves are her Cranky Old Lady rants.  With age  I have found a new freedom to say pretty much what I think (you know – no longer restrained by wanting to impress anyone and being comfortable in my own skin).  Kat does this exceptionally well and even has a page on her site called ‘From the Downhill Slope’.

Kat’s mission is to, “..care and share not just the good news and good times, but also to keep sharing the bumps, bruises, and yes – the pain of this glorious gift called life.”

This very accomplished lady thinks of herself as a WOO (Wise Old One) and I don’t know about the wise part for me, but as an Old one, it is nice to belong to her club.

Her page  Be With Beauty is one of the twelve daily Staying Strong Exercises.  Exercises she shares with us and she invites us to share our pictures of Beauty with her.

Kat’s site is very professionally done and information oozes from every word.  She has wonderful quotes such as ; There is a crack in everything; it is what lets the light in.   Leonard Cohen, American musician

Please do stop by and visit this wonderful WOO, say hi, and click a like or two.  She loves visitors.  You don’t even have to dress up, she will welcome you as you are.

This Writer: Has Been Gished

Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish

This awfternoon I watched a movie from 1930 I beelieve which starred Lillian Gish in her first talkie.  It was a terribly wonderful and touching movie in which she plays a princess whose mother is trying dreadfully hard to get her to marry a prince.  Her name was Alexaandra and his Albert.  But she fancied herself in love with a Tutor whose name was Nicholas.

The strangest thing happened – and in the event you thought I may have developed typoitis – I am simply trying to give you the idea of what happened.  I went outside following the satisfying end of the movie and as I thawt great thawts I found her little girlish voice running madly about my brain.

So madly in fact, every single thawt is terribly wonderful and sprite like and glamorous.  How strange!  I mean reaally how could this happen?

The dialogue itself was, I thawt ratha plain and simple but combined with those eyes, those gestures hung over from silent movies, I was captured into a world of gentility and grace.

Why right now I find myself looking at cleaning supplies I had out, before I realized I was truly a princess and truly gished.

Why I find myself gesturing much the same as she.  How simply wondaful.  Wondaful I say and yes I mean it!

This was not at all what I had in mind for today’s post, but until the magic dust of Gish dissapates I am quite unable to carry on as the commoner I once believed myself.  I do beelieve that by the morrow this may have passed.  Perhaps.

Nonetheless I shall with great exaggeration play this out to its end.  It is the only way you see.

Taa Taa for now my worthy subjects.  I am off to enjoy the Gishing and shall have to find some sheer fabric to toss around as I think, walk, and tawk.

Give Me a Head with Hair, Long Beautiful Hair …or Au Naturel

When I was young I had long beautiful hair. Longer  and shinier than this pic.

My hair in my teens was a shining auburn, below my shoulders and straight as a board.  I ironed it like everyone else even though there was no need.  We rinsed our hair with vinegar and water for that extra shine.

Then something happened – call the 30’s – No not the 1930’s, MY 30’s and suddenly that little bottle of colour became part of my life.  And my hair got shorter and shorter.  So for 30 (seems to be the magical number doesn’t it?) odd years I have helped support the beauty industry by buying product.  Now it is more like this:

So as you may know I seem to be going through a catharsis in my 65th year.  Something, well everything is changing.  I no longer hang ten over the surf board of life but now look for meaning and am living more on purpose rather than by whatever winds buffet me along the road of life.  Well okay I don’t look like that anymore as menopause brought me a short few months of naturally curly hair.  Alas it did not last.

Now it is more like this:

And I have stayed pretty consistent in my color ‘Golden Blonde‘.  Now see what I did there?  That ‘cool’ look or so I thought covers up a lot including the old double or triple chin.

Why the ‘confession’?

Well I took a good look around and noticed that women my age who color their hair, in my opinion look like they have colored their hair.

See I am not sure it makes me look younger anymore.  I think it just makes me look like a woman my age trying to look younger.  I may be off base in this but I am going to try..try..to go back to the 60’s ideas of natural flow no show.  So even though I have been growing that faux girlish look out, when my roots are long enough I am getting all the color cut out.  I mean my hair will grow again and if I look too awful in my natural state I can take up the bottle again but it is such a nice adventurous idea I am going to make it so.

When I do I shall if I am very very brave post a pic.  No promises on that since part of my cathartic change is to be truthful.  And realistic.  And kind at the same time.

What other changes of purpose have I done?  I will have to let you know another time.  Y’all have a great weekend!