Friday, November 30, 2012

Connections for Mary's Mixed Bag

Today, at Mary's Mixed Bag for the online writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Mary has asked us to explore "connections"! Wow, a word with so many meanings and connotations! The mind boggles.

Mary suggested examining how we are connected with families, friends and others (that would take forever) or the myriad ways people connect with one another in the 21st or any previous century.

The options and opportunities are almost endless.

I read what Mary had to say, and decided it all sounded entirely too overwhelming for my stuffed-up head to take in, never mind to give out in the form of poetry.

However, as happens with my brain altogether too often, and never with my permission or my conscious participation, the first two lines of the following nonsense leapt into my mind (unbidden, as I said).


So I had to run with it (more like crawl with it, thanks to my general achiness) and you can comment or not, as you like.

Meanwhile (and I've already explained this to Mary) I may not be able to comment on others' submissions atallatall because this bit of doggerel took today's entire ration of strength and left me panting, wheezing, and yearning for a nap.

Soon, friends and fellow Toads...soon I'll be commenting, and then you'll be sorry ...pleased.

Are We Missing Something?

is there a connection ’tween ark and dark?
or twill and will and billing?
how many fens can you buy for a pfennig?
(assuming the seller is willing)

what about human and humane?
well, that one should be easy,
but is it? I think not, sometimes not at all
when easy and breezy’s just sleazy
Kay L. Davies, 2012

Weekend Reflections in Europe, Part I

We're recently home from a holiday with Viking River Cruises. We boarded in Amsterdam and cruised the Rhine, Main, and Danube Rivers, crossing from the Rhine to the Danube via the Main (rhymes with Rhine) River and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal where a series of locks took us up Europe's continental divide and down the other side, a rise and fall of a whole lotta feet and even many meters (although I forget the exact height).

I took these three photos from our cabin as we sailed the Main somewhere near Hassfurt, Germany. I loved the reflections and the autumn colors.

My intrepid photographer, one Richard Schear to whom I have been married these several years, took many more photos than I did, and most of the pictures I'll be posting to my blog will be his. However, I just wanted all my blogging friends to know I was there, too, even if I was mostly in the cabin coughing, sneezing and disturbing the sleep of other passengers.

Posted for Weekend Reflections
Hosted by that fabulous photographer James, wherever he may be.

Photos by Kay Davies, November, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Angels of the moon, Skywatch Friday

Richard Schear photo, Nuremberg, Germany, November, 2012
Posted for
Skywatch Friday
Photo taken during our Grand European Tour with Viking River Cruises, November, 2012.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For Real Toads: Wednesday Challenge

Kerry, filling in for Kenia at the Wednesday Challenge in the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, has asked us to write about a personal relationship.

This little poem is about a specific time and place in my memory, but can apply, I believe, to almost any relationship between two people.
he was right
and I was wrong
so I might
forever long
to turn the clock
to right the wrong
Kay Davies, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

River cruising for dummies

Written at the final port on our Grand European trip with Viking River Cruises. Posting a day late for Open Link Monday at the online writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Out of the fog looms Budapest

the jewel of the Danube, yes,

but I am glad I’m not ashore

with husband, friends, and others more

adventurous than I, because

I have a schniffle in my schnoz

and coughs and schneezes, ousch! galore,

a cold that needs not any more

help from weather wet as I −

we cannot even see the sky,

and there was e’en a skiff of snow

upon the decks above, below,

and in between, so that could mean

more snow to come at later hour

to trap me in some Pest-ish bower

across the stream from Buda, where                 

my ship lies warmly, safely there

beside the dock, beneath the bridge

with sustenance in cup and fridge.

Ashore I will not go today, in my cabin I will stay, to cruise again another day.

Home at last, and trying to improve

Lindy earlier this year, after shedding one
of her boots on a walk with her  daddy.
Richard Schear, photo, 2012
We're home to the snow, and our lovely dog Lindy, who is snoring behind me as I type this. I've made an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow about this month's cough-sneeze-sniffle-suffer bout. Two months in a row of two weeks of suffering is about all I want.
Zillions of photos to be dealt with, I know, but I got myself up so I could phone the doctor's office, and I've done that chore, so it's back to bed until the next coughing spell wakes me up.
Apologies all over the place for my lack of participation and commenting in the blogosphere. Am hoping that will improve with antibiotics!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Succinctly yours: baby, backpack, bike

Photo posted as prompt at Grandma's Goulash

Each week, over at her Grandma's Goulash blog, Grandma posts a photo to inspire writers to compose a short story of 140 words, or a short-short story of 140 characters including spaces and punctuation.
I always like to try for the 140-character-count, and I also like to use The Word of the Week, which Grandma's daughter Calico chooses before she has seen the photo.

Here, in red, is my submission of 140 characters, containing the word backbone, to go with the photo above:

Roberto was willing to put up with the pain in his backbone for the sake of carrying his small son, plus a backpack, safely on his bicycle.

Of course, when Roberto gets his driver's licence back, there's no telling what he'll... no, seriously, folks, I am always terrified by those nylon-covered baby trailers people pull behind their bikes. A speeding tailgater will hit the baby trailer first, I'm sure. Of course, I could be wrong, but they scare me out of what wits I have left. This looks like a nice sturdy baby rig, though, especially for riding on cobblestones. (Not as bad as walking on them, either.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

A word with Laurie: burlap

Mrs. Trellis accused me today
of writing something that led her to say
her guilty pleasure is underwear
designed to cause all men to stare.
How dare she? I cried.
How dare? How dare?
So I have decided to send, by air,
a package of sackcloth underwear
for Mrs. Trellis to wear next week,
and Mr. Trellis has promised to peek
to tell me if she refuses, mayhap,
her early Christmas gift of burlap.
by Kay Davies, November, 2012

Posted for Laurie's challenge word "burlap" at the online writers' group
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Izy's Out of Standard challenge: deep, dark

Over at the writers' group, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Isabel Gruye has challenged us to write a poem about our deepest, darkest, guiltiest pleasure.
Ah, the things to which I could have admitted when I was young! The poems I could have written to describe my deep desires!
However, I have few guilty pleasures left; but Izy is a hard taskmistress, so I looked at my decadent self this morning, lounging about on a river cruise ship, doing not-very-much, and I find I must admit the truth.

Here are Izy's rules for this month’s Out of Standard challenge, followed by my response.

1.     Admit to your deeply dark guilty pleasure.

2.     Write a poem gluttonously inspired by it. NOTICE: I said gluttonously inspired, which means no light hinting or a slight name drop. Go now, toads, rub your bellies in the muck and bleat delightfully at its deliciousness.

I’m drinking tea with honey and lemon

soothing to a sore throat, so good for me,

while eyeing a pastry filled with chocolate

(my fourth of the morning)

which will be my reward

for drinking the tea.

All good deeds should be rewarded,

don’t you agree?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday mini-challenge, a little late

W.B. Yeats in 1911
Wikipedia photo by
George Charles Beresford

At the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Kerry presented members and followers with a special challenge on Sunday, but we were traveling and couldn't get a good satellite signal, so I didn't see it until Monday. Meanwhile, I had written something for Open Link Monday, so I posted that.

A little disordered, a little vague, and a little late...ah, well, c'est moi.

Kerry used eight of my favorite lines of poetry, by the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats, as an example for us, and I simply must try to respond.

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with gold and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

by William Butler Yeats
The syllable count, says Kerry, is 9,8,9,8, 9,10,9,10, and the poet used word-repetition with occasional in-line rhymes to create his beautiful poem.
But I, being an inferior poet, have only my dreams. Write like W.B. Yeats? In your dreams, Davies, in your dreams!

Were I the writer I wished to be,
With readers, admirers, mine,
With editors, publishers, 'twould be
So fine, all mine, and not half mine...
I would have all these words in a book.
But I, being old, have only my blog.
I have placed my blog here on the 'net...
Comment kindly if you comment on my blog.
 Kay L. Davies, November, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Camera Critters: cute little piggy and me

We're on Viking River Cruises' Grand European Tour, which includes the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, with stops to visit many beautiful cities.
We had some shopping to do in Cologne, Germany, and successfully found the items we sought on the special request of a relative who is battling health problems. It wasn't an easy find, so we're very pleased we succeeded.
We also saw this adorable bronze pig...I'd have cheerfully adopted him if we'd had room in our suitcases to take him home.

Posted for
week by

Thanks so much, Misty!

Open Link Monday: rivers for Real Toads

Photos from
The Rhine and the Danube flow toward the sea
like many other rivers---
like any other rivers---
unaware of their histories
unaware of their pasts
feeling only the pull
that takes them onward.

But people see the Danube, and people see the Rhine,
unlike any other rivers---

people think of history,
are resentful of the past,
forgetting the pull
that takes rivers onward.

There is no real right of it,
nor is there any wrong,
in the way rivers feel
or the way people think,
unless people fail to understand
that, like rivers, they must continue onward.
by Kay L. Davies, 2012

Photos from

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekend Reflections on the River Rhine

Richard Schear photo, November, 2012

Posted for
Weekend Reflections
hosted by James, wherever he may be.

Thanks, James!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Skywatch Friday, sunrise on the Rhine

Our arrival in Europe this week was highlighted by a welcoming committee consisting of bloggers Mara and Wil, of Weighty Matters, and Reader Wil, with whom we enjoyed a delightful visit. Said visit got off to a late start, however, because of lost luggage requiring lengthy forms to be filled and filed. Mara and Wil, we loved having you come to meet our plane at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and we're pleased and grateful that you waited until we finally emerged.

Richard Schear photos, November, 2012
The photos above and below were taken from the Viking River Cruises ship Viking Danube as we approached Cologne, Germany, on the second morning of our cruise. And our luggage was delivered to the ship before it left Amsterdam.

Posted for  Skywatch Friday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Succinctly yours: perambulating amphibian

Each week, Grandma, of the Grandma's Goulash blog, hosts a microfiction competition called Succinctly Yours.

Prompt photo provided
Grandma provides a photo as inspiration, and her daughter Calico, who hasn't yet seen the photo, suggests the Word of the Week.
This week's word is amphibian.
Entrants are to write a short story of 140 words, or a short-short story of 140 characters including punctuation and spaces.
When I am able to participate, I enjoy challenging myself to the use of 140 characters or less.
There is no prize but one's pride in one's own skill and ingenuity.

© Richard Schear photos

Joe had to crawl under his car to retrieve his pet Galapagos Marine Iguana. Who knew one unprepossessing amphibian could cause such trouble?

140 characters including spaces and punctuation, as well as the word of the week.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sunday stanza form for Toads and friends

This weekend at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Kerry's Sunday mini-challenge is for us to use the stanza form employed by 1930s poet Louis MacNeice in his work The Sunlight on the Garden.

Kerry included lovely photos by three talented Toads members, Kenia Cris, Ellen Wilson and Susie Clevenger, for our inspiration.

It wasn't until I looked at Ella's photo along with Susie's that I felt able to respond to this challenge. This stanza form, which had defeated me during previous attempts Saturday evening, seemed very much suited to the two photos together.

© Ellen Wilson
This is by no means a perfect representation of the form, but Kerry did invite us to make free with it, within reason, so I offer you my approximation of the MacNeice stanza.

© Susie Clevenger

the old key for the red door
unlocks hearts, they say,
when lovers kiss with open
minds, hoping for the day
on which they may
pledge their troth forevermore 

Oh, deer, what's a kew kumber?

That fat yellow dog named Lindy tells me these buildings are Green Houses, and she says they grow kew kumbers in there.
She loves to eat kew kumbers but her daddy doesn't give her whole ones any more. He takes them home and gives them to Lindy's mom, who cuts off stingy slices for Lindy.
I wonder if we can find a way into a Green House to eat kew kumbers.

© Richard Schear photo, November 2012

If we can't get in there, we'll go to Lindy's house, and eat the Orner Mentle Kraa Bapples off her tree. We need to stand on our hind legs to get them sometimes, but Lindy says it's good Extra Size for us, in more ways than one.
Lindy sure does talk funny.

Posted for
Camera Critters
hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty, we love this meme! — Kay, Lindy, Richard, and the dear deer Lindy meets in their neighborhood and down at the nearby coulee.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wildlife challenge from Hannah

Today, at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Hannah has offered us the following challenge: 
"Hi! It’s Hannah with your fourth round of ecoregion exploration and a call to stretch your poet-voices to express the point of view of wildlife that inhabits the Temperate Forest."

The following is my response to this timely challenge.

Douglas Fir
Wikipedia photo

Wikipedia Photo
Shore Pine
Wikipedia Photo

in the woods
and by the sea
I saw the trees
and the birds

and it was good

on my first day

I held the birds
and saw the people
with their weapons
of mass destruction

and it was bad

on my very last day

Lodgepole Pine, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Kay L. Davies, 2012

Bald Eagle © Christian Sasse photo, British Columbia, Canada

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rather late, or very early, for Monday

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
John Masefield, 1878-1967

Viking River Cruises photo

I'm not sure what kind of condition my condition will be in on Monday, or whether we'll be fixed up with internet access, so I'm linking this to the Nov. 5 edition of Open Link Monday at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (only a couple of days late).

There's a tip of my hat to Thursday, too, as I think about how much I enjoyed Hootin' Anni's recently-defunct musical meme, Thursday Theme Song. You can tell how much I miss it if you read the following "letter".

Mara, left, and friend
Dear Jack:
You asked for details about our next travels, so here we go.
The way things work in my life, it doesn’t matter if I’ve been sick since Easter or not, it’s just a matter of time before I hit the road again because my dearly-beloved is healthy once more and has found such-a-deal on an off-season voyage to Somewhere.
Wil with her
Australian grandchildren
Somewhere, in this instance, is actually several somewheres, and we aren’t really going by road. We’re leaving on a jet plane on Sunday, and meeting up with a couple of blogger friends at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (Mara, from the northern Netherlands, and Wil, from farther south, near Rotterdam) when we land on Monday.
We plan to have lunch with them, and then, within a few days we’ll be rollin' on the river through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary.
Restaurant on the
Viking Danube
It should be an exciting trip. We’ve been told we might maybe perhaps get to visit Germany’s oldest restaurant to eat sausage on a roll with sweet mustard but, if we can’t get in there, I know three lovely meals per day will be provided onboard the Viking Danube all the way from embarkation in Amsterdam to debarkation in Budapest.
Of course, there’s a good possibility I won’t be going on any shore excursions at all if my misnamed “health” doesn’t smarten up. Walking halfway through the local mall this afternoon wore me out, so I can’t imagine walking through large museums and/or hilltop castles.
Meanwhile, we’ve been commissioned by a relative to find German football (soccer) jerseys, possibly made by the elves in the Black Forest, and perhaps intended to be worn with liederhosen next Hallowe’en. I know nothing about European soccer, and even less about shopping in the German language.
Manchester v Amsterdam
(I don't know which is who)
How much shopping I manage to do is a subject for serious conjecture and, on my part, considerable fretting, because I've pretty much promised I'll do my best to find the items requested.
Ah, well, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the European scenery whether I see it as I wander around, shopping, or as I sit aboard ship, sipping hot chocolate, and happy to be out of the brisk November weather.
So, have a good time in our absence, and we'll be thinking of you.
Luv, Kay

A Canadian looks at US election results

Wikipedia photo
Over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Mama Zen has given us the opportunity to conserve energy as we conserve words, using no more than 20 to tell her the results of last night's US election.

The suspense
was quite tense
awaiting Obama
even in Canada
I’m glad to see him
(but wouldn’t want to be him)
Politics would be the last career I would choose, but I’m grateful there are people who put their lives on the line for the free world.
Barack Obama inherited a nation in debt, and many now blame him for creating that debt. What a dreadful position to be in!
People are even forgetting the USA’s great leap forward, the leap which occurred when “a person of color” stepped up because he felt he could do the world's most high-profile job.
His belief has now been proven to be right. The color of his skin has been forgotten in the everydayness of political struggle. He is truly “Mr. President”!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday mini-challenge at Real Toads

Kerry gives us a topic rather than a poetic form for this weekend's Sunday mini-challenge at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, and the topic she suggests is a wonderful one, but oh so elusive: peace.
Canadian soldiers in Arnhem
I can't do justice to that beautiful word, but I can give you

A brief history of
peace in my time

peace seemed unlikely
when I was very young
born on the heels of WWII
hearing about Korea
when I was small
but I wanted peace—
Korean War
Wikipedia photo
no more tanks driving
down the street
(although I only saw one
and it was in the town parade
leading clowns, floats, bands
and convertibles full of pretty girls)
but I’d heard too much
about war
about death
about poppies blowing
in Flanders fields
Vietnam War
Wikipedia photo

peace seemed unlikely
when boys my age
were sent to Vietnam
when I was still young
enough to dream,
and yet old
enough to want 

peace seemed unlikely
when skin color
determined people’s rights
and when men
decided women’s rights

maybe those four British poets
said it best
I don’t know—
in church today we say
"peace be with you"
eliciting the reply
"and also with you"
but I still wonder...when...when?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Posing pretty for Pet Pride

© Richard Schear photo
Pictures of Lindy smiling happily in the sunshine are my favorite sort of photo now. This was taken last month during Lindy's daily walk with her daddy, before the snowy weather set in.

Posted for Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family in Mumbai, India,
on their Pets Forever blog.

Lindy says, "Hi, Bozo, I'm sure happy someone wrote a book about you. I'll have to talk to my mom to see if she'll write poems about me, to put into a Lindy book!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Critter and its shadow on snow

© Photo by Richard Schear, October, 2012
My husband spotted this gorgeous creature while he was walking our dog Lindy recently. It paused on the snow long enough to have its picture taken, then flew away, obviously not very worried about the weather!

Posted for
Camera Critters
hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!

and for  Shadow Shot Sunday
hosted by a team of very shadowy photo-bloggers. Thanks, team!

For Real Toads: she wants me to what??


I love the federal government
I love our Prime Minister—
he never explains his movements
especially when they’re sinister!
it’s like a mystery movie
or even a horror one
we never know just what he’ll do
until the deed is done—
waiting to see what he’s up to
is always so much fun!

On Hallowe’en he flew around
in a taxpayer-funded jet
with Wifey following on her broom
and she hasn’t caught up yet!
forgive me, perhaps I shouldn’t
malign that poor sweet lady
who fosters baby kittens,
and smiles when her husband’s shady,
she might not know just what he does
up there on Parliament Hill —
leaders of other parties don’t know
what will be in his next bill.

I just love the way he thinks
of war and global warming:
believes in one but not the next,
thinks there is no harm in
oil sands, and pipelines that
cross fragile ecosystems,
he believes the scientists
are really only bitchin’...
you gotta love a man who thinks
that he’s the king of the castle
and doesn’t want other opinions
because they’re too much hassle.
2 thumbnails from

Over at the 
Fireblossom has asked us to lie in a poem. Tell falsehoods, not the truth? Moi?
Although lying is something I no longer do, (it's easier to tell the truth because I don't have to try to remember what I said) I did think it might be fun to give this prompt a try, and I was right, it was a giggle. Abandoning all poetical rules and forms, I just went for it, remembering how easy lying was, back in The Bad Old Days.
However, I have to say there is one part that is not a lie.
Mrs. Prime Minister Harper really does foster kittens, perhaps for photo ops to boost her ratings in the polls, and perhaps because kittens really are awfully cute. It is not for me to say.

SkyWatch Friday: Lindy in sunshine

Some time ago (years, not months) I thought I might like to be a guest host on SkyWatch Friday, so I chose my favorite Lindy-and-sky photo to use.
I never did make the commitment to guest hosting, so the photo and accompanying paragraph have been sitting in a file on my desktop for quite a while.

© Richard Schear photo

Of all the SkyWatch pictures my intrepid photographer has taken for my blog, this is my favorite. My husband (aka Intrepid Photographer, aka Richard Schear) was walking our dog, Lindy, at the coulee not far from our house when he captured this scene.
I can see a cartoon-style dog cloud in the turquoise part of the sky on the left, and I can also see dark storm-clouds trying to chase away the white clouds in the center and on the right.
What looks like a path (above the rocks to the right of Lindy’s nose) is actually a track made by animals, probably by the herds of sure-footed mule deer, or perhaps coyotes, or even pronghorn antelope, Dick and Lindy meet on their walks.

Posted for
SkyWatch Friday

Button update: not found yet

Thanks to my blogging friends for some good, creative and interesting ideas re finding the lost button for my brown blazer. I haven't found it yet, but Bonnie is coming in today to clean up the house, so maybe she'll find it. She's younger than we are, and undoubtedly has better eyes.

The button I lost is a metal shank button, not unlike these at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Button, button, who's got the button?

Like my mother and both of my grandmothers, I have a button jar. Mine isn't like theirs. It isn't a pristine buttons-only jar. No, it contains all the small bits of things I think I'm going to—and often do—need: picture-hangers, screws, nails, thumbtacks, the little packets of thread given out at hotels, and, of course, buttons. I have the spare buttons which come with some clothes as well as the buttons that have fallen off clothes.
Today, I looked for one of the latter, a button missing from a blazer I think I might be wearing soon. And I found it. The button was there in the jar, waiting to be sewn on again.
Lindy, by Aleta
So, however, were the aforementioned picture-hangers, several different sizes of them, one size perfect for hanging Lindy's portrait. You may remember my post of the portrait I commissioned from Canadian artist Aleta Karstad as a gift for Dick when he had surgery recently.
After finding the button, I was feeling quite successful and pleased with myself, so I decided to frame the portrait, using the floater frame Aleta sent me. I think it looks good near Dick's recliner, where he can see his darlin' girl even when she's outside in the yard.
But what did I do with the button?
It's gone. I've looked everywhere I think might be an even remotely possible place for me to have put it. (There's a convoluted sentence for you. You can tell my brain isn't working properly.)
No, I didn't put the button into the blazer pocket. No, I didn't put it with the needles and thread. Those would have been good places, but I looked, to no avail. Nor was it in any of the less-good places, such as drawers near the counter where I emptied out the button jar. I didn't even put it back into the button jar. I took everything out again, just to make sure. I checked my desk, and the table beside my recliner (although I haven't sat in my recliner yet today) and all surfaces near the chair on which the blazer is hanging.
I've looked in my bathroom, and the laundry room, and the bedroom. I've looked on the floor in the kitchen and in the front hall.
Next, I guess I'll look in the kitchen garbage container (eeuuww, ick) before I arrange to have Lindy's innards X-rayed, but first I'm going to sit down in my recliner to watch some Home & Garden television. I'm always so impressed by people who do things, and do them well.