Saturday, December 31, 2011

Succinctly yours: dinosaur memories

Every week at the blog Grandma's Goulash, writer-bloggers find a photo to inspire us to write succinctly, which means something like "brevity squared". We can write a short story of 140 words, or a short-short item of 140 characters including spaces and punctuation.

There is also a word of the week for us to include if we can. This week's word is memories, which didn't fit into my poem, so I had to use it in my title (which doesn't count). The word is chosen by Grandma's daughter, Calico, before she sees the photo.

I want a dinosaur for Christmas.
Only a dinosaur will do:
One to stand so tall,
To make my bro feel small,
He will cry every time he looks!

140 characters including spaces and punctuation

Pet Pride: batting her eyelashes

"Come on, Dad, let's go for a walk. Let's go now. It's almost time for the sun to set. You know how you love sunset photos. Let's go!" says Lindy, batting her long eyelashes at her daddy. Lindy's mom and dad sometimes wonder what she likes best: food, or a walk, or a ride in the car.

"There! Now isn't this better? I'll rest here while you take your pictures, then we'll walk some more!"
Posted for  Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family in Mumbai, India, on their Pets Forever blog where you can see other pets as their families see them.
Lindy says: "Hi, Bozo, I hope you're feeling better. Do you feel well enough to go walking? I sure hope so. We want you to have a happy and healthy new year!"

Shadow Shot Sunday 2: Yaroslavl, Russia

We will always remember the lovely Russian city of Yaroslavl, near Moscow. Soon after we returned from our Waterways of the Czars cruise, there was a terrible and tragic accident which cast a shadow of sorrow across Russia. See my post about it HERE!
We hope 2012 brings fewer shadows and more sunshine to all hearts.
Posted for
Sunday 2
To see other shadows from around the world, please click

© Photos by Richard Schear

Camera Critters: Yaroslavl

It hasn't been easy for me to post photos from the city of Yaroslavl, Russia. We hadn't been home very long after our Waterways of the Czars cruise when that city's entire ice hockey team was lost as their chartered plane crashed into the bank of the Volga River. It was a terrible tragedy for the people of Russia, and for hockey fans the world over. Some of the players were well known in North America's National Hockey League, including the coach, who once played for Dick's favorite team, the Calgary Flames, and a talented forward who had played for my home team, the Vancouver Canucks. (Click the link above to see my post from after the accident.)
Now, however, (with the letter Y coming up soon on the ABC Wednesday meme,  for one thing) I've been thinking about Yaroslavl and about the things we saw there, including these unusual Camera Critters in a public garden where I rested by the fountain after visiting the city's public market.
Then our group went to visit a display of iconic Russian lacquered boxes, by the artists who had painted them. Dick and I both gravitated toward the boxes decorated with cats and dogs, but couldn't decide which we liked best, so came home without one.
Thanks to Misty for the Camera Critters meme, and Happy New Year, all!

See you later, alligator!

Bear backside.

© Photos by Richard Schear and Kay Davies, August, 2011

While the cats sleep, the mice will...

I didn't buy this shirt at the public market because I was afraid of the answers I'd get.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Yaroslavl, Russia

This is the spot for 'selfie' shots of my intrepid photographer!

Imperial Porcelain

© Photos by Richard Schear
Posted for
Weekend Reflections
hosted by James in California. Thanks, James!

For Real Toads: New Year challenge

Mary has a new challenge—Mary’s Mixed Bag—for the writers’ group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, and for her first Friday, which is the last Friday of the year, she has chosen “Ring out the old, ring in the new” from the poem In Memoriam by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).
Two of Tennyson’s lines called out to me:
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
I’ve written a little verse in no particular style, with these timely subjects in mind. I have found that life, in the final analysis, is made more satisfying by offering people a helping hand.
Everyone has something to offer to someone, be it helping with crises in places like Kenya, to which my blogging friend Joyful devotes much of her time, or just helping your neighbor. We have a neighbor who brings his snowblower over now and then, and when I thanked him the first time, he said he wanted it to be "anonymous snowblowing" but it's a little difficult to disguise the sound!

As Tennyson's poem continues:
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land

Here, then, is my submission to Mary's first Mixed Bag prompt.

out with the old, and in with the new,
I'll have a new job and a new house, too.
I’ve worked so hard and I’ve saved so much
my friends all worry I’m out of touch.
but I’m not gone, I’m not on the shelf,
I’ve just reached the goal I set myself:
a cute little house with a basement flat
(big help with the mortgage, I thought of that)
and work in a field that’s more fulfilling,
in a help-others job, I’m more than willing!

I am also linking this to the meme Weekend Writers' Retreat at the blog Grandma's Goulash.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Blurb Friday: white flowers on bush

Every week, Lisa Ricard Claro, at her blog Writing in the Buff, invites writer-bloggers to look at a photo she has provided, imagine it to be the cover of a book, imagine the contents of the book, then write a "blurb" of no more than 150 words to convince browsers to become buyers.
This week's photo is one I took in May of this year, when spring finally came to southern Alberta. The flowers are blossoms on a bush in my yard, but I can't remember the name of the bush, so the heroine of the imaginary book, for which I've written a blurb, doesn't know what they are, either.
Here is my submission of 150 words, not including the title or author's name.
White Flowers: For Life, for Death
by Minnie Cooper

Emmy stared at the old photo for a long time. She recognized the flowers—not by name, but from her parents’ wedding picture. Her mother had carried flowers like these down the aisle, and the same blossoms had been placed on her grave a year later, when Emmy was an infant.
Her father told her he never knew their name, just that they grew in the garden of his young wife’s rooming house. He never knew who left them on the grave, either. When he visited the rooming house weeks after the funeral, looking for answers, the doors were locked, the windows boarded, the landlady and her tenants all dispersed, and the garden uprooted.
Who mailed the photo to Emmy fifty years later? And why? What was the significance of the flowers?
Emmy knew she had to find out. She was so glad her only son had become a detective.
Does this color photo give anyone a clue as to the plant's identity? —K

SkyWatch Friday: one photo says it all

© Photo by Richard Schear

Our Southern Alberta sky turned the color of a harvest moon this week, for the last SkyWatch Friday of the year. My intrepid photographer, with strict orders to bring me new photos of Lindy, went walking with the long lens on his camera—perfect for this year-end sunset, not so good for a dog at the end of a leash.

Posted for
SkyWatch Friday
To see how the sky is ending the year in other parts of the planet, please click

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For Real Toads: Bossa Nova beat, Kenia's challenge

Kenia's challenge for the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads is inspired by the poems of South America's Vinícius de Moraes whose Bossa Nova song Girl from Ipanema won a Grammy Award in 1965. I remember 1965, I remember the song, and I remember the Bossa Nova—almost primal with its insistent South American beat.

Kenia challenged us to go out, or look out; to observe a person; then write a poem about the person, or write a letter-poem to the person.

Song from Out the Window
man beyond the window goes walking,
dog beside him, and man is talking,
dog wags, but she doesn’t speak,
she just doesn’t speak—
man is all done up in a scarf now,
trying to keep the cold out somehow.
wind is blowing, whips up the snow,
but dog doesn’t know,
she’s happy to be with him while walking,
wagging her tail as he is talking,
a snow-happy team—
so happy a team.

I'm also submitting this post to Hootin' Anni's musical meme.
Anni, you might remember this one!
Thursday's Theme Song.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

X is for Xylophone Soloist in Moscow

One of the most energetic musicians we've ever seen was this amazing young percussionist performing with the Russian Folk Orchestra Moskva when we visited Moscow during our August vacation.
He played a traditional wooden xylophone (the Greek word for wood is xylon) so fast, and moved so fast,  and so did the conductor, most of our photos of them were out of focus (see second photo).

© Richard Schear photos, above
Bolshoi Hall, the main performance auditorium of the Moscow Conservatory where, in recent times there has been a movement by musicologists to study and reproduce authentic folk music in an authentic performance style on the concert stage. Photo courtesy of Mr. Google.

Posted for the letter X
at ABC Wednesday
To see how the letter X was used by other bloggers, please click  HERE!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our World Tuesday: a new outlook on life

I may have mentioned (I'm sure I did) I have a new window. It was ordered for my birthday at the beginning of the month, and arrived last week. A nice young man cut a hole in the door beside my desk, and installed a sealed window unit with built-in magnet-controlled venetian blinds. Ah, the ancient Venetians never imagined anything like this, I'm sure, and it brightens up the room considerably.

It also gives me a wonderful view of our ornamental crabapple tree, where the deer come to eat when the ground is covered in deep snow, which we don't have at the moment, so I've seen no deer.
On the right day (or the wrong day) I also
get a good view of the neighbors' dumpster
when they've put it out for pick-up.

Posted for
To see other worlds
on this planet,
please click

Boxing Day Ladies

Kerry is back, and so is Open Link Monday for the writers' group
Today, in many countries including Canada, is Boxing Day.
The exact origins of Boxing Day are lost in the mists of time, but this is the version told to me by my grandmother when I was a child:

on Boxing Day
the ladies fine
took boxes of food to the poor
of course they sat
in carriages
while servants took
the boxes to the humbler doors
but the ladies
waved, smiled, nodded
accepting thanks which was their due

Boxing Day in Canada is now a day of large sales in many stores, with slashed prices enticing customers to line up before daylight for such things as electronic equipment at rock-bottom prices. I have never been tempted to do such a thing, but my husband has stood in the December cold to buy things he really wanted. I now have no idea what those things were. I wonder if he knows.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday: no snow shadows today

I've had to go to my archives for Christmas snow-shadows because Christmas Day is dull, dreary, and warmish (+7C, almost 45F) with ice melting on the road in front of our house. Now that I have my new window from which to see them, the deer aren't coming to eat our ornamental crabapples because there is plenty of grass available for them. Tomorrow promises to be sunny, with slightly lower temperatures, then continuing warmish with sunshine until Friday when there might be some wet flurries (mixed rain and snow).
Not jolly ho-ho-ho holiday weather, but the highways are clear for family visiting.
These photos are from December 2009, and from the spring of this year when the snow wouldn't and wouldn't and wouldn't stop.

Lindy's whiskers
froze in 2009,
the year we
adopted her,
but she didn't care.
She was so happy
to have a family.
Here she is,
posing for photos,
despite sitting
in shadow.
We think she's
the very best!

I love the photo of our snowberry bush, above, covered in glistening fresh snow.

Here's the snowberry bush again, with new snow falling in big, fat flakes.

Shadows deep inside this Mugo Pine look like a hideaway for a small animal.

Posted for
Shadow Shot Sunday 2
To see other shadows shot by other shadow-shooters, please click  HERE!

My wonderful Christmas book from Judith

Every writer-blogger ought to read this book. Better still, every writer-blogger ought to own this book. Amazon seems to have it on special (see link) but, if you can't afford it, ask your public library. I didn't even know it existed until I took it from under the Christmas tree and unwrapped it. I haven't read past the back cover, the inside flaps of the dustjacket, and the Foreword, but I'm unashamedly touting this book!
It is, without a doubt, one of those I-wish-I'd-written-this books. More than that, it's an I-wish-I-had-studied-these-subjects book.
The author, J.P. Davidson, is an anthropologist as well as a TV and film producer, who traveled around the world with Stephen Fry, an author with a raft of film, stage, radio and TV credits, along with Britain's most famous traveler, Michael Palin, for comic relief.
They had a wonderful time, worked very hard, returned to Britain, made their research into a TV series, and then I guess Fry and Davidson flipped a coin to see which of them would write Planet Word.
(More will be revealed when I read the book.)
This is a book about travel and about the evolution of language. Inside the front cover, it mentions the Snohomish people of "North America"...for "North America" read Everett, Washington, a two-hour drive from my family's home town of White Rock, British Columbia. It is a book written by wordsmiths who love language. How could I not like it? Thanks, Judith!

In her role as my best friend, Judith finds all the best books for me. She managed to do it while living in Vancouver because there were lots of book stores. Then she managed it while living on one of British Columbia's Gulf Islands, because she had a part-time job in the book store.
Now she and her British-born husband have moved to Britain, where they live aboard a narrowboat on a canal in what looks (to me) to be the centre of England. Yes, they live in a marina near a village but, fortunately, they have relatives in cities, so Judith has a whole 'nother country's worth of treasures to unearth, and some of said treasures are for me!
Oh, so fortunate, me!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

'Tis the
to be

and all her reindeer relatives!
Produced by Kay Davies
with Lindy's portrait by Richard Schear

and thanks to someone who sent the reindeer
to someone who sent it to someone else who sent it to us.

For Real Toads: ecstatic

Laurie's word for the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads to use in a poem this week is: ecstasy. She gave three dictionary definitions for the word, including a chemical formula, for which I was unable to find a use in my poem, although I mention a chemical change near the end.
She also challenged us to write the poem in five minutes. 
Five minutes? No way.
To tell the truth, Laurie, I wrote the first four and a half lines in a couple of minutes, then got stuck for more than five minutes, so I went off to do something else.

like a prisoner in an attic
yesterday I was ecstatic
to have a window cut for me —
a window out of which to see
in winter deer who come to get
fruit from our tree, fruit frozen, yet
they eat from branches or from snow,
tall ones above, and young below;
then, in spring, the fruit, fermented,
makes waxwings appear demented:
birds seem to be in ecstasy,
in ornamental crabapple tree.

Camera Critters and Weekend Reflection

© Photos by Kay Davies

Posted for James's
and for Misty Dawn's
There's at least one critter (or more) and one reflection (however small)
in every shot taken early this month on the Oregon coast.