Monday, August 15, 2016

A most amazing friend

 That's me on the left, a few years ago, enjoying a visit with my high school friend Carola, who is one of the people I know well and admire most.

She probably doesn't want these things published, because she is a humble person, not given to tooting her own horn. So I'm going to toot it for her.

Carola has always loved reading books, learning new things, sewing her own clothes, photography, and quilting. Maybe I should have put quilting first, because it is her creative voice. Quilting is what she loves.

The quilt above my bathroom mirror was one she'd made for her husband's office. When he retired, she gave it to me. I don't know if she intended it for my bathroom, but that's where it is, so I see it every day.

A few years ago, Carola lost the sight in one eye. Doctors and optometrists and ophthalmologists consulted to find the reason for this sudden loss. While they dithered, Rome burned. Well, while they dithered, she lost most of the sight in her other eye. She was left with a tiny bit of sight in the bottom of one eye.

Undeterred, she didn't sit around and weep. She still manages to travel, to read e-mail and visit on Skype with the little bit of eyesight she had left.

Then she decided to return to quilting, and the first quilt she made was for our darlin' dog, Lindy. I am forever grateful to have Carola for a friend.

I'm sharing this post with Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Can this be the same dog?

Yes, of course it can...those of you who know our Golden Retriever, Lindy, will know she has become a Grande Dame, but one who is not averse to lying on the floor in front of the refrigerator, just in case someone thinks of food.

Even the size of the photos, when enlarged, show how much girth our girl has grown since she came to live with us...but we love her, large or small, white hair or golden...she's wonderful.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A long uninformed dissertation on child labor

(Note to my fellow Canadians, make that "labour.")

My husband (you know, my personal photographer, that husband) and I watched, recently, a TV program about child labour, specifically in India.
Although I knew intellectually, I can now clearly see that it is still a horror in the 21st century, as the feature program showed us the people who are now dedicating their work to try to end child labour there in the land of Mother Teresa.

Although she was undoubtedly the world's most popular and successful nun, conflicting online sites have Mother Teresa born in Skopje, Macedonia, and also in Gotarrendura, Spain. Delving further into Wikipedia's varying opinions on her birth, I find she was most likely to have been born in Skopje, and unlikely to have been born in Spain. Some years later, as a young woman, she received her education in Rathfarnham, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland.

There is no uncertainty, however, about Mother Teresa's dedication as a Roman Catholic nun to the people of India, where she tried to relieve the grim poverty and abhorrent death rate. She was, as a result, among some of the first women to have argued against child labour.

She did much, probably more than any one other individual, and although she won a Nobel Prize for her exemplary efforts, and was beatified a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, even Mother Teresa couldn't eliminate horrors such as child labour.

Nor could rabblerousers, missionaries, and lawmakers who followed—but not for lack of trying.

Most of us in this 21st century abhor the thought of child labour, and can often be heard opining "something should be done about that" but, here in North America, we are pretty much helpless to do so. Child labour (we hope) is no longer listed among the many deficiencies of our society, but is an ever-present fact in countries as diverse as India and China. Therefore, we wring our hands but can do little or nothing.

However, believe it or not, I digress. All of the above came to me as a result of that TV show, and of revisiting one of my all-time favourite poems: The Ballad of East and West, by Rudyard Kipling, and, indeed, the part of that poem I have always loved best. No, not the refrain, which has been quoted for various conflicting reasons, probably ever since it was first published in 1889, and has caused many a difference of opinion in the meantime.

No, this essay of mine is, would you believe, about child labour, and how I came to think of it...via that TV show, and because I had just been reading that poem. Sending offspring into servitude has long been a necessity, but none so seemingly glorious as Kipling has it here, when Kamal, the border thief, reaches a truce with the Colonel's son:

"...if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack,
Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back."
Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet.
"No talk shall be of dogs," said he, "when wolf and grey wolf meet.
May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath;
What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?"
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "I hold by the blood of my clan,
Take up the mare for my father's gift—by God, she has carried a man."
The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast;
"We be two strong men," said Kamal then, but she loveth the younger best:
So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein,
My 'broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain."
The colonel's son a pistol drew, and held it muzzle-end,
"Ye have taken the one from a foe," said he. "Will ye take the mate from a friend?"
"A gift for a gift," said Kamal straight, "a limb for the risk of a limb,
Thy father hath sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!"
With that, he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain crest:
He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest
"Now this is thy master," Kamal said, "that leads a troop of the guides,
And ye must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides.
Til death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed,
Thy life is his—thy fate it is, to guard him with thy head.
So, thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine,
And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the border-line.
And thou must make a trooper tough, and hack thy way to power,
Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur."

There's more, and if you are Kipling fan, you'll know, but my point is "I'll send my son to this is thy must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides..."
While this is hardly child labour, it shows how readily people in the 19th century bartered their offspring. "I'll send my son to him"...sons were items of trade, or were rewards, as in this case. No thought was ever given to the feelings of the mothers and sisters of the young man. He was sent from one life into another as a gift. The word "dower" was even used.
But when I first heard of him, that nameless son of a border thief, at a young and impressionable age, I fell in love..."he trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest." Sigh. There's something to be said for the 19th century after all.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

My personal photographer's photos

    That's right, I have a personal photographer. I can no longer walk the red crushed-rock paths around the coulee nearby, nor can our wonderful dog Lindy, but my husband goes out every afternoon or evening. I love it when he does evenings, because sometimes his photos are extraordinary. (see previous post)

    However, in a previous post I said I would have more about coulees. These photos were taken some years ago, at a particularly rocky part of our coulee, and of course the first and last ones feature our dog Lindy when she was younger. She didn't climb around on the rocks, but she loved walking the paths with her daddy. (I know, I know, sappy old lady talking about her dog.)
Photos by Richard Schear     

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Doggerel and our dog-girl

Today I coughed up something green
with something of a puce-ish sheen
the meanest green I've ever seen
I thought that I had burst my spleen!

I took me to the doctor quick
"look" I said and he said "ick!"
then mentioned to my husband Dick
"I think your wife is very sick."

"Oh no!" said Dick, "oh, woe" said he
"Now who will cook and clean for me?
and wash my socks and underwear?
What will I do with no wife there?
this all is more than I can bear!
Mother didn't teach me how to cook
she only taught me how to look
for someone who would do for me
the things which had been done by she."

Apologies are due to my husband, Richard Schear, who has been cooking and cleaning (and taking fabulous photos) for the last few years while I walked around in ever-diminishing circles half the time, and slept the other half. 

Fortunately, I am coming out of that fog and heading toward returning to the me I know I should be.

The blog posts of my friend Yamini are very helpful in that regard, as are those of many others—you know who you are.

So, after the doggerel we have, as promised, the dog...
Lindy, when she first came home with us, and who didn't waste any time at all deciding who she loves she is, looking out the window to see her daddy come home.

 Ditto below, waiting at the door
for him to come in from the car.

It didn't take any time at all before she decided she'd take the best place to sit, although she did more sleeping than sitting.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Down in the valley so low

Richard Schear photos

At the risk of being unoriginal, a picture speaks a thousand words, and I want to thank my husband, Richard Schear, for these photos taken with his phone while he was on his regular walk around the nearby coulee last night.

If you don't know what a coulee is, I looked it up. You'll get only a vague idea from the definition offered by Merriam Webster:
a usually small or shallow ravine; gully. Really, it says "a usually small" and even without the grammatical error, that definition scarcely does it justice.'s second try was a little better:
1800-10 Americanism; Canadian French: a flowing;  feminine of coulĂ©, past participle of couler: to flow.
But my favourite was's example of historical usage:
He rode through the coulee without seeing a single cow, and an exploration lasting over an hour resulted no better.
Watch now, it gets better: the above example is attributed to Hopalong Cassidy by Clarence E. Mulford. Anyone old enough to remember Hopalong Cassidy must be nearly as old as I am, perhaps my brother Clint's age, or a little bit younger.
Anyone who knows anything about Clarence E. Mulford, however, must be even older than I am. Please let me know who you are.
So...the gully that is our coulee is barely visible to the left of the red rock path in the first photo above, and completely invisible in the second photo.
The photos below could almost be called historical, like ol' Hopalong, taken as they were by the abovementioned husband some years ago, but they should give you a good idea of our coulees, and they have already given me a good idea for another coulee-photo blog-post.
Now, Tuesday has come and is almost gone, and I forgot to link this post to

Our World Tuesday

Sunday, July 24, 2016

One can never have too many socks

Socks. I find myself buying them whenever I see them...well, almost. I have drawers and baskets and boxes full of socks, and I'm writing this blog post in order to remind myself not to buy any more. That doesn't, of course, apply to the ones that are waiting for me to pick them up at the Sears delivery location in town.
But I am not alone...just google "too many socks" and you'll be amazed. Photos and quotations abound, all about sock collectors like me.
Let's start with J.K. Rowling: “One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair.”
And from
"One can never own too many socks. Or so the Germans believe. In Germany, women and men own 24 pairs each. Hence, they hold the European record."
European record, indeed. How about Canadian record? I have exceeded that German record, and records from many other countries, I'm sure.

Please note: The photos below are not mine, so I have attributed them to the sock-lovers who took them, to show just how far a sock obsession can go.

And now you know, as Dumbledore might have said: "One can never have too many photographs of too many socks."
And the reason for this particular post on this particular day? I have promised myself I will sort out the drawers, baskets, and boxes of socks in my bedroom, and am postponing that overwhelming chore by blogging instead.
Sigh again.

Linking this post with
Our World Tuesday