Friday, September 30, 2011

Alberta Badlands with good Alberta dog

© Photo by Kay Davies
Yesterday, I posted photos of my visit to Banff and Lake Louise together with my dear dog Lindy and our blogging friend Mara, who is visiting from The Netherlands. In the photo on the right, Lindy seeks interesting things with her nose, while Mara seeks interesting things with her camera at Lake Louise.

I promised I'd show you photos of the Alberta Badlands today, forgetting I took very few of them myself because I was feeling more than somewhat shaky (not a good idea for photos). Therefore, I have to use some of Mara's along with one or two of my own. Thanks, Mara! You are a great traveling companion, and a fabulous driver!

Mara walked across the suspension bridge near Drumheller, Alberta. Lindy and I didn't.
© Photo by Kay Davies

I got most of the bridge into this picture, with the hills of the Badlands visible
on the other side of the Red Deer River.
© Photo by Kay Davies

Tall posts keep vehicles away from the pedestrian bridge,
and provide good anchoring spots for Lindy's leash as she poses for portraits.
© Photo by Kay Davies
Lindy and I smile beside one of the many dinosaur sculptures found on street corners
in the town of Drumheller, Alberta.
© Photo by Mara Jellema

Some of the "hoodoos" south of Drumheller.
© Photo by Mara Jellema

Weekend Reflections: puddle art and more

Posted for Weekend Reflections
hosted by James in California, where he has proven again today he is the master of the unexpected reflection.
These photos were taken at Alberta's Bow River, where the Bow Falls come crashing down so bright-whitely as to be reflected even in the rough waters below. I was there this week with my dog Lindy and our Dutch blogging friend Mara, of Weighty Matters.
Dick and I first met Mara in Amsterdam this spring, and were delighted to hear she would be visiting Alberta, but sorry she's here while Dick's away on business. However, Lindy proved an able substitute for her daddy.
The Bow Falls are in one of the most famous places (if not the most famous place) in Alberta: Banff National Park. The falls are very close to the renowned ski town of Banff, a must-see on our quick tour of the Canadian Rockies on Wednesday.

Looking downriver, the sky was covered in white cloud, making this mountain look like a cut-out.

© Above photos by Kay Davies
Photo below by Mara Jellema

"Hi, welcome to my car. Have you ever kissed a dog?"

Book Blurb Friday: the freighters

Posted for
Book Blurb
hosted by
Writing in
the Buff

Each week, Lisa posts a photo, this time by Anyes of Far Away in the Sunshine, to inspire writer-bloggers.
What we, as writers, have to do, is imagine a book with this photo on the cover, then "Write a book jacket blurb (150 words or less) so enticing that potential readers would feel compelled to buy the book."

Sometimes it's a pretty tall order, Lisa, and sometimes the photo just speaks to us.
Here is my submission for this week, 148 words not including the title:


As RCMP sergeant Mike Philips lay on the Kits Beach swim raft, casually contemplating the sunset, he found himself thinking instead of the freighters anchored outside Vancouver harbor, awaiting a berth.

Long a subject of interest to RCMP, and Vancouver City Police, as well as Canada Customs, such freighters and their cargo were always inspected carefully before entering the harbor, Mike knew, especially since the turn of the new century.
“But what if...” he thought, “they were...” the thoughts were barely formed in his swim-drenched sun-baked summer consciousness. “I’d better mention this to someone.”
To which someones did he take his idea?
What did they say?
What did they do?
And what happened to Sergeant Mike Philips?
Has the Harper government built a secret equivalent to Guantanamo Bay?
Find out in Freighter, the latest novel by criminalist Cam Schaeffer, a book written to shake the world.

Special edition! Hold the presses!

"But I'm not really used to dogs, just cats."
© Photo by Kay Davies
We interrupt the ongoing coverage of the World Famous Dick and Kay Holiday in Russia to bring you the following late-breaking news.
On Monday at midnight, after almost 24 hours of travel from her home in the Netherlands, Mara, of the blog Weighty Matters, landed in Edmonton, Alberta.
Fortunately, she found a very comfortable bed awaiting her at the Best Western at the Edmonton Airport, and had a refreshing if all too brief sleep.
By noon she had organized rental of a nice silver Chevy Impala and was headed for Airdrie, Alberta, where I had arranged a large room at a Best Western with pet-friendly policies.
My dog Lindy loved traveling and staying in a hotel with her new friend. She wasn't too sure about the elevator, but soon realized I was saying "Lindy, sit" for a reason. From then on, she sat immediately after entering, then led the way out, as if showing us to our room.
Weather-watching bureaucrats probably love working here.
© Photo by Kay Davies
We packed some interesting things into our two-day sightseeing spree. Taking Hwy. 1A instead of Hwy. 1 (the busy Trans-Canada) as far as Canmore, we hoped to see some wildlife, but were destined to disappointment. We saw three dogs run across the road some distance ahead of us, but they weren't wild dogs. Mara saw a man balanced on a cement barrier, and looked in the direction his camera was pointing. She saw antlers, and by a rather sketchy process of elimination, I decided she might have seen the antlers and the top of the head of an elk. Or not.
Beautiful sky over the Bow River below Bow Falls.
© Photo by Kay Davies
Banff is Banff and looks like all ski towns in the modern world, but, as a National Park, it enjoys a rather substantial and somewhat posh Administration Building with beautifully landscaped grounds.
Lake Louise is like nothing else on earth. It is absolutely beautiful. The glaciers above it are no longer as grand as they were, but the lake is obviously glacier-fed, with its lovely turquoise waters.
Although Mara's wildlife count was limited to a distant pair of antlers and the top of an unrecognizable animal head, one chipmunk, many ravens, and some hawks, she believed me when I said she might see some wildlife the next day, when we headed east instead of west.
Fortunately, she did spot a small herd of deer and I was able to turn the car around and find the animals hadn't run away. My reputation as a big-game tour director was safe.
So...Banff and Lake Louise yesterday, the Alberta Badlands today. Keeping you (I hope) in suspense, I will continue tomorrow.

© Photo by Kay Davies

Posted for  Sky Watch Friday
To see other skies as other photo-bloggers saw them, please click HERE!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

K: Kalinka, ABC Wednesday, Thursday Theme Song

Kalinka, kalinka, kalinka moya!
V sadu yagoda malinka, malinka moya!
Akh, pod sosnoyu, pod zelenoyu,
Spat' polozhite vy menya!
Ay-lyuli, lyuli, ay-lyuli,
Spat' polozhite vy menya.
Kalinka, kalinka, kalinka moya!
V sadu yagoda malinka, malinka moya!
Akh, sosyenushka ty zyelyenaya,
Nye shumi zhe nado mnoy!
Ay-lyuli, lyuli, ay-lyuli,
Nye shumi zhe nado mnoy!
Kalinka, kalinka, kalinka moya!
V sadu yagoda malinka, malinka moya!
Akh, krasavitsa, dusha-dyevitsa,
Polyubi zhe ty menya!
Ay-lyuli, lyuli, ay-lyuli,
Polyubi zhe ty menya!
Kalinka, kalinka, kalinka moya!
V sadu yagoda malinka, malinka moya! 

© Photos by Richard Schear
and Kay Davies

Sasha, one of the guides on the Viking Surkov tried to teach this song to my husband and other passengers as part of the onboard Russian lessons. I don't know how successful Sasha was with the others, but Dick, who is only fractionally more musical than I am (and I am not at all), didn't get past the first line. He is partial to the song, however, and will sing that one line over and over and over.
It would be untrue to say the rest of our holiday with Viking River Cruises became unbearable, however, because I often stayed on the ship while Dick, humming happily, went on shore excursions without me.
Ah, peace and quiet!
This song seems to be very popular at Russian weddings.
The following English translation of this song has been edited to avoid excessive repetition, of which there is much. In the video (link above), the chorus is repeated repeatedly, to the delight of the wedding guests. The singer has a wonderful voice. Do listen to him, and watch the bride's face. She's so happy!

Little snowberry, snowberry, snowberry of mine!
Little raspberry in the garden, my little raspberry!
Ah, little pine, little green one,
Don't rustle above me,
Ah, rock-a-baby,
Don't rustle above me.
Ah, you beauty, pretty maiden,
Take a fancy to me,
Ah, rock-a-baby,
Take a fancy to me.
Little snowberry, snowberry, snowberry of mine!
Little raspberry in the garden, my little raspberry!

Posted for ABC Wednesday
and also for

Monday, September 26, 2011

Imaginary garden with a new (old) toad

I've double-checked and re-double-checked, and Kerry of the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads says about this week's Calling all Toadswe invite members and visitors alike to share a poem, either old or new.

It says nothing there about original or wrote-it-myself, so I find I've simply got to share this very old, very delightful poem written in 1927 by the author and old newspaperman, Don Marquis.

I first read this poem in one of my favorite books: archy and mehitabel, in which authorship of the poem is attributed to archy, one of the title characters, a vers libre bard who died and whose soul transmigrated into the body of a cockroach.

If Don Marquis were alive today, he'd be 133 years old, according to the website dedicated to him, and, I believe, he'd still be writing.

For those of you who haven't already met this character, I would like to introduce someone I talk about more often than you might suspect: a toad I find myself wanting to talk about every time I visit Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. He might be an imaginary toad, but there is a very real lesson in here somewhere.

warty bliggens the toad

i met a toad
the other day by the name
of warty bliggens
he was sitting under
a toadstool
feeling contented
he explained that when the cosmos
was created
that toadstool was especially
planned for his personal
shelter from sun and rain
thought out and prepared
for him

do not tell me
said warty bliggens
that there is not a purpose
in the universe
the thought is blasphemy
a little more
conversation revealed
that warty bliggens
considers himself to be
the center of the same
the earth exists
to grow toadstools for him
to sit under
the sun to give him light
by day and the moon
and wheeling constellations
to make beautiful
the night for the sake of
warty bliggens
to what act of yours
do you impute
this interest on the part
of the creator
of the universe
i asked him
why is it that you
are so greatly favored
ask rather
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me
if i were a
human being i would
not laugh
too complacently
at poor warty bliggens
for similar
have only too often
lodged in the crinkles
of the human cerebrum
                                       — archy

Our World Tuesday: Mandrogy, Russia

Ye Olde Russian Archerie Grounde

If you enlarge this photo, you may see where one arrow has hit the roof above the target on the left.

Ye olde spectators
© Richard Schear photos

Fishing is a sport beloved around the world, including the River Svir in Russia.
If you're coming here from the "Our World" site, please note, I do know how to spell my own name, but my fingers just don't do what they're supposed to do any more. —Kay

Some of these little kids don't seem happy, but it looks like a fun ride to me. Many river cruise ships, including those from Viking River Cruises, stop at Mandrogy to let passengers get a taste of life in Russia hundreds of years ago. (The wheels, I would guess, aren't exactly authentic 15th Century.)

Posted for
Our World Tuesday
hosted by a group of very talented bloggers
in honor of the late Klaus Peter,
the originator of a meme we all used to love, My World Tuesday.
To see other worlds from around this planet, please click HERE!

Succinctly yours: mired

Every week, Grandma's Goulash gives us the opportunity to try writing succinctly, which is great for over-writers like the unfittie here.
We're given a photo and asked to write about the prompt photo (or about something suggested by the photo) in either 140 words or in 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
With the help of Design215's character counter I usually choose the 140 characters, in order to learn self-discipline.
If that's not your thing, feel free to chatter away and use 140 words.
Grandma's daughter, before she has seen the week's photo, is asked to provide a word of the week, which we can use, or not use, because that part is optional.
This week's word is mired.
I used 138 characters, including spaces and punctuation.


Sissy thought she was mired in the pile of leaves, never to escape, but her brother said, "Throw the leaves at me!" and soon she was out.


Posted for 
Succinctly Yours
hosted every week by Grandma's Goulash.

To see how other writer-bloggers used the photo prompt, please click

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday: Kizhi, Russia

© Photos by Kay Davies and Richard Schear, August, 2011
during our Russian vacation with Viking River Cruises

Yellow wildflowers, yellow candles, yellow supports for the maintenance workers at this amazing open-air museum on Lake Onega in northern Russia, where the churches have domes made completely of wood without the use of nails, plus the yellow jackets of some tourists, including my husband, contribute to this week's
hosted every week by Drowsey Monkey. Thanks, Drowsey!
To see many more mellow yellows captured by photo-bloggers around the world, please click

Magpie Tales 84: woman and bird in rain

Willow, at Willow Manor, posts a photo for us to use as an inspiration for an original piece of writing: poetry, prose, dialogue, interview (I've never done that for a Magpie), etcetera. It is up to us, as is the length, providing we use this photo as a prompt. I wasn't able to take this gloomy picture seriously today, but "serious" isn't in the rules, so I've used an ordinary, every-evening kind of conversation, keeping the photo in mind.

"Bobby! Bobbeeee!"
The raven squawked, "Ark!"
"Bobby, it's late, and it's too dark for swimming!"
The raven squawked, "Dark!"
"Bobby, come on now. I want to go out. I'm already dressed and I'm getting wet out here in the park."
The raven squawked, "Park!"
"Bobby, don't make me come and get you. I'm not jumping into the lake in a long dress and long gloves."
"Awww, Mom! Be serious."
"Bobby, I am serious. Come here right now. I'm soaked to the skin and I'll have to go home to change, and I want you to come home, too."
"I'm having fun, Mom! I'll come home soon."
"Don't be silly, I have to lock the house before I go out. Hurry up!"
The raven squawked, "Lock!"
"Awww, please, Mom, please?"
The raven squawked, "Awwwk!"
"You come right home this minute, Bobby, or you are in big trouble!"
"Aw, Mom, you're always nagging at me. I'm not coming home. Ever!"
Squawked the raven, "Nevermore!"

Posted for
Magpie Tales
To find out how this photo prompt inspired other writer-bloggers, click HERE!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pet Pride: almost too pooped to pant

"Daddy, please, I'm too tired to walk just now.
Look, my tongue is melting all over the path."
— Lindy Davies-Schear, super-sized pet

© Photo by Richard Schear
Posted for Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family in Mumbai at Pets Forever.
Lindy says:
"Hi, Bozo, you look slim and athletic. I bet you like to walk fast. I don't. The weather is still hot here, but should cool off soon."

To see other pets as their owners pictured them, please click HERE!

Cutest camera critter in Russia!

I have really had bad luck today with this post. First, it posted to the wrong date, and Paula (Molokai Girl) told me how to move it. Then, somehow, I deleted it, I guess, because it is gone.
Bear with me, please. I'm trying. Very trying, as the old joke says.

Isn't this little fella cute? I know I interrupted him just to pet him and take his picture, and he was very patient for a little while, but then he continued on his way. He definitely knew where he was going and why, so I'm sure he's a resident of the island of Kizhi, there in Lake Onega in northern Russia.

Re-posted for
Camera Critters
hosted every weekend by Misty Dawn.
Thanks, Misty! Sorry for any inconvenience.

This duck was swimming near the Viking Surkov, and other passengers were making remarks about the color of the water. I could tell, however, that although the water is brown in color, it isn't necessarily dirty water, because I could clearly see the legs of birds—ducks and gulls—swimming in it. There's her right leg, and there's her left leg. A very pretty lady of the lake.

© Photos by Kay Davies,
Kizhi, Russia, August, 2011