Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pet Pride: shadows and a nice ear scratch

Richard Schear photo, June, 2013
Lying in the shadow of the chokecherry tree, having a nice little scratch behind the ear. I think I like this idea of my mom and dad having a yard sale. They spend the day outside with me, and lots of people stop by to visit, just the way I like a day to be. — Lindy

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

Lindy says, "Hi, Bozo, don't I look comfortable here? A little while later we had some rain, and everyone had to run to put the tables full of things-for-sale into the garage. It was SO interesting!
"You mentioned monsoons on your page, Bozo. I don't know what those are, but the South Saskatchewan River that runs through southern Alberta got very high, and people who live close to the river were on flood alert. Mom and Dad said some houses were e-vac-u-ated. I don't know what that means, either, but I think it is bad for houses."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kim challenges the toads in the garden

'The Mirror' by William Merritt Chase,
Cincinnati Art Museum,
Wikimedia Commons

it happened yesterday:
I looked in my mirror
and I liked what I saw
I could have said
my hairdresser did it
but that’s only
a half truth—
it was my idea
and I like what I see.

for many years
I lived alone
needing to learn to live
with myself,
by myself,
and for myself,
At the Mirror
by Lovis Corinth
Worcester Art Museum
Wikimedia Commons
but that was before
old age and illness hit me,
when I could look in a mirror
every day
and like what I saw.

old age and illness hit me
together recently,
both of them at once,
and I buckled
under the strain.
the worst of the illness
has left me now,
and I don’t mind if I’m old
because, once again,
I like what I see.
                     Kay Davies, June 29, 2013        
Mrs Jeantaud in the Mirror
Edgar Degas
Wikimedia Commons

Written for Kim Nelson’s Sunday mini-challenge at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.
Kim asked us to read the poem Love after Love by Derek Walcott, digest it, create from it, and share it with others here in the garden. “Simple,” she said, and she was right!

Thanks, Kim!

Camera Critters around the world

Peterhof Palace, Russia
Richard Schear, photo
Miltenberg, Germany
Richard Schear, photo
Yellow-bellied bird in the rain, Costa Rican rain forest
Richard Schear, photo

From Toronto, Canada
The one on the left looks so much like my late, great cat Herman,
I'd have driven to Toronto to get him if I could.
Posted for
hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fireblossom Friday: dealing with loss

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona,
Richard Schear photo


with life comes loss—
when lives are lost, there is 
yet more
of a mother,
a father,
a home,
a friend.
with loss comes life,
a new kind of life,
without mother,
without father,
in a different home,
with other friends.
and life goes on,
but it is never quite the same
Kay Davies, June 28, 2013

Posted for
Fireblossom Friday

Tomorrow is June 29. It was my mother's birthday.
June 2 was my father's birthday. I have been thinking of loss a lot this month. Thanks to Fireblossom for giving me a chance to write about it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Faces for Peggy's prompt: About Face

Over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Peggy Goetz of ON A DAY LIKE TODAY offered us some of her photos of people for a challenge called About Face. I think it's a great name for your prompt, Peggy, and your portraits are fabulous.

Photo by Peggy Goetz

inscrutable, indomitable, 
Maya people in Guatemala remain
despite the genocide...
what is a war of 36 years
to people whose race is thousands of years old?
her red hat
with upturned brim
smiles for her, as she tries
to keep her face grim
despite the sparkle in her eyes
and the laugh lines in her face.
father, uncles, brothers perished
“disappeared” by Cusanero,
but her sons remain alive
and for them she’ll always strive
to discourage anyone
who, with a camera,
tries to take the life from her face.
Kay Davies, June, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pet Pride: depends on an internet thing

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

Lindy says, "Hi, Bozo. Here I am, asleep on my mom's recliner. It's very comfy, even when it isn't reclining.
"My mom says to tell you our internet service was out for a while. I don't know what that means. I know what "go out" means, but not internet service."

Photo by Kay Davies, June, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Breaking news in the sick old lady dept.

Public domain image
Yes, it is what the link says. The so-called "imaginary" pain of the so-called "non-illness" fibromyalgia, which has plagued my life since the mid 1980s, and fellow toad Sherry's life for probably a similar length of time, is real. And "take two aspirin, then call me in the morning" is not the cure. Unfortunately, there is no cure so far, and may not be one in my lifetime or Sherry's.
However, we are vindicated. I lost a long-term job because I had fibromyalgia and it didn't go away. I won the arbitration hearing, but the stress of having a mortgage and no income, plus the stress of going to arbitration, caused another disease, and the medication for that disease caused several more health problems.
Sound like a good time was had by all? Not at all. Nobody had a good time. Not I, not my previous husband who left me because I wasn't any fun any more (good riddance), not my parents who moved in to take care of me when I was desperately sick with the second illness, not my family who saw me break one of the vertebrae in my back because the medication prescribed for that second illness caused me to have osteoporosis at 40-something.
Yep, not a party.
Nevertheless, it's nice to know someone believes we weren't making it up. Okay, it was nice, during my arbitration hearing, to have the doctor hired by my late employer tell the judge that my job caused the fibromyalgia, but this is nicer. Now doctors everywhere will know that FM is real, and they just might stop dismissing their patients with a superior sniff.
Then again, they might not.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Corey challenges us to philosophize

John Corbett as Chris
on Northern Exposure

Seems to me I once regaled The Toads in the Garden with a poem on existentialism, but that poem didn’t show my own philosophy.
Now Corey has prompted us to pretend we are hosting a morning radio show, like the one in the once-ever-so-popular TV show Northern Exposure, “Chris in the morning.” Chris would talk about any subject that caught his fancy, and wax philosophical for the benefit of his listeners in The Great White North. It was wonderful fun.
I am not a seriously philosophical person. I am not even a serious writer. My style is “humorous essay” and it translates into poetry fairly well, for the most part.
But philosophy? Well, I looked it up in an online dictionary, and there are as many definitions of the word as there are philosophers, but I like this one:
the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group
However, we have a friend who is a philosophy professor. We had dinner with him every night for more than two weeks, and I’m guessing he would choose this definition:
a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology (the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity).
I had to look up epistemology as well, because I’ve never seen the word before (after many decades dedicated to words) and still don’t know how to pronounce it properly, although I’ll probably remember how to spell it.
For my own philosophy, I have taken bits and pieces from all over. From doctors I have taken the directive “First, do no harm” and have found I cannot live up to it completely, but I do my best. (It was less complicated when I was single. Having a husband makes it easier for me to hurt someone’s feelings, I’ve discovered.)
I have no children of my own, but I have a much younger brother as well as nieces and nephews, and a grandniece and some grandnephews, and I share my husband’s six grandchildren. I also have an almost overpowering instinct, which I call my Mother Bear Instinct, to protect them.
With that instinct never far from the surface of my mind, I believe we have a responsibility to preserve the planet for the youngsters we love, for the youngsters our friends love, and for generations yet to come.
I recently saved a story from the Vancouver Observer, and got around to reading it today. It was scary. Australian climatologists have delivered an ultimatum. To stop using fossil fuels “or to become the dumbest intelligent species yet, to have knowingly caused our own extinction through wilful blindness. You choose.”
I live in Canada, a country once respected throughout the world for its actions on behalf of peace, sanity, and caring. We no longer enjoy that respect. Our present federal government doesn’t believe in global warming or in climate change, but instead believes in piping the crudest crude oil ever known, from northern Alberta to northern British Columbia, to be put into tanker ships and sent across the Pacific Ocean to the orient.
Oh yes, and laws about protests in Canada are becoming increasingly strict, to the point of disallowing freedom of expression, so what can we do?
I am old, unhealthy, and powerless. I wring my aching hands because of my powerlessness, but another part of my personal philosophy is that I am not in charge of events as they happen. To reinforce the validity of this belief, my dog refused to go for a walk with me today, preferring to wait for my husband. If I'm not in charge of the dog, I'm not in charge of much.
Therefore, I realize it will take more than just one voice, it will take millions of voices worldwide, creating a power much greater than Kay alone, to make the change before it is too late.
I cry for the children in my family, ranging in age from 8 months to 11 years, because scientists have warned us that we, as a species, will become extinct through our own foolishness. Not in my lifetime, but during the lives of our grandchildren, if things don’t change.
For more philosophy, drop in to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Helen's list, I haven't missed many

from Wikimedia Commons

it’s time for graduation
such a celebration!
and I want to look my very best
so I made a reservation
at the osmosis station
to get rid of imperfection
and flaws in my complexion
to saturate my skin so I’ll be blessed
with transparent beauty
because it is my duty
to recite a monologue to all the staff
who will then see me soar
with whimsy, truth and more
to conserve the best of wheat from chaff
they will all observe
that I certainly deserve
scholarships and riverbeds of cash
Kay Davies, June 19, 2013

Today at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, we have been presented with a list of words compiled by Oregon poet Helen Dehner of the blog Poetry Matters and asked to write a poem using at least three of the words, or more, if we like.
If you've ever seen a photo of me, you'll know I definitely belong to the More is Better school of thought.

from Wikimedia Commons
Helen's list follows. I couldn't use all the words, but I used several. I wanted to mention "bouffant hairdo" and "heirloom clutch bag" and "happenstance" (what a lovely word) but it just didn't happen.

from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, June 17, 2013

What a weird world Tuesday this is

The hills in the distance are in northern Montana.

Concretions stay when the soil around them is washed away.

Wild rose — the official flower of Alberta.

Rose hips on last year's wild rose plant.

People in a photo give an idea of the size of the concretions.

Mourning dove nest

It wasn't a sunny day, but the sky was very interesting.

Photos by Richard Schear, June, 2013

As promised, photos from my husband's trip to Red Rock Coulee, near Seven Persons, Alberta. The Grasslands Naturalists group is introducing him to places he never could have imagined, and he's enjoying it thoroughly.

Posted for Our World Tuesday

Open Link Monday at Real Toads

I had been feeling wretched for a year or more, but I finally got tough with my doctor, who made some changes to my medical regimen, and I have been feeling somewhat better lately.
So I did the obvious thing: too much.
Yes, the average workaholic can be guaranteed to mistake feeling "better" for feeling "well" and jump right in with both feet to get rid of every chore that's been left undone during a long illness.
Foolish workaholics.
And we'll all probably keep doing it, because of the "ism" in workaholism.
Therefore, for Open Link Monday, late in the afternoon, I have nothing to contribute but a limerick. It isn't, however, a leftover from Mad Kane's Limerick-Off, although I did manage to write one for her yesterday. This little ditty was in a folder on my desktop, unused. (The cartoon I found at
Despite the baseball game and the hockey playoffs, I hope to get back to my computer to comment on some of the other Open Link poems.
cartoon by Dick Morgan

There once was a jailer from Baylor
Who ordered his shoes from a mailer—
One shoe was too big
The other quite small,
Now the jailer, he walks like a sailor.

Posted for
Open Link Monday
at the
Imaginary Garden
with Real Toads 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Mother Goose story for Real Toads

Photo by Jenn Jilks

mother goose, so graceful,
reflected in the pond
with her remaining child reflected, too.
I wonder if she wonders
what happened to the others,
those eggs on which she sat
until they all had hatched,
the goslings that she fed
and taught
and caught 
when they'd stray
too far away 
from her watchful eye.
did she kiss them?
does she miss them?
does she even know
that they are gone?
or does mother goose’s instinct
care as much for one, as for a brood?
and,  if I could ask her,
would she hate that I had asked her?
would she think me too too terrible and rude?
Kay Davies,  June 16, 2013

With warmest thanks to my lovely blogging friend Jenn Jilks at Cottage Country Reflections, for the use of several of her wildlife photos, as well as a domestic photo of her four cats, for the Sunday mini-challenge at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Jenn is a warmhearted person who loves birds, animals, children, old people, the environment and her family, including a devoted husband who accompanies her on meandering drives through the countryside, stopping whenever she sees a photo opportunity, an injured animal, or a slow-moving turtle trying to make its way across the road.

Posted for my challenge, using Jenn’s photos, at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. (One of Jenn’s photos is of a teeny-tiny toad clinging to a fingertip. Amazing.)

Thanks also to Kerry at Real Toads, who patiently puts up with my confused approach to post-posting.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Patient, sometimes; obedient, seldom

Richard Schear photo, 2013
Lindy says, "Hi, Bozo. It's a warm day, and I'm just waiting for my dad to take pictures of some birds. My mom says I'm not very obedient, but I do come at meal time, like the Kitty Crew. Maybe I should have been a cat, but I think I'm too big."

Posted for Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family in Mumbai, India.
Thanks, Bozo!

More reflections from Venice, Italy

Our wonderful old hotel on Venice's Grand Canal was a perfect base from which to explore the many wonders of this ancient city. Here you can see the hotel reflected in the water, as well as more reflections in the hotel windows. Photos by Richard Schear, February, 2013.

The sky, the Italian flag, and some blue awnings are reflected in these windows.

Here you can see my husband lining up his shot, some passersby watching him, and the buildings across the way reflected in the window of a lovely Venetian shop.
Posted for
Weekend Reflections
hosted by James of Something Sighted. Thanks, James!

Iguana look up those skirts, I really gonna

Photos by Richard Schear, Dominican Republic, 2012
I guess I'm just a lounge lizard at heart.

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

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cowboy poetry or poetry about 'em

Margaret has once again come up with an interesting poetry challenge at The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.
Her subject is cowboy (and cowgirl) poetry, and we are invited to write whatever we choose about, or inspired by, the photos of Merri Melde of The Equestrian Vagabond.
I've chosen one of Merri's photos and have added some public domain shots archived from an old movie called Border Caballero.
I grew up in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley when it was ranching, farming and orchard country. Everybody knew someone who rode a horse and roped cattle for a living, and we all admired the big, brave, strong cowboys in movies and, later, on television.

cowboys were heroes when I was a child
when country surrounding our town was wild
we’d go up the mountain, or ford a stream,
pretend to be cowboys, that was our dream—

Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Tonto, Lone Ranger
we’d pick a hero and act out the danger
of riding the range, protecting the cattle,
if rustlers appeared, there would be battle

although it’s not now politically proper
we would fight “injuns” who tried to stop our
wagon trains crossing their native homeland
as if we believed that it was our own land

first from the movies, and then from TV
that was the way we just thought it should be.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Izy's Out of Standard takes on new meaning

It was a little difficult for me to see the film clip provided as inspiration today for Isadora Gruye's Out of Standard prompt at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. My computer's preferred browser will no longer run video (I must get my husband to show me how to change that) so I had to switch to my other browser, which will not allow me to enter IP addresses.
My computer is less than five years old, but it might as well be 65 years old, because it is Seriously Out Of Date.
So, as my out-of-date met up with Izy's out-of-standard, I had to work my old brain a little harder than usual this morning. Probably good for it.

I was eventually able to view Izy's film clip and, not being a foreign film fan of any sort*, was pleased when something (anything) of a seemingly-somewhat poetic nature came to mind.
* although I did enjoy 1994's Asterix Conquers America
Then I couldn't actually show you the film clip, so I have had to use a link instead (oh, it's fun to grow old along with my computer).
The clip, says Izy, is "from the film Holy Motors, directed by the ever so French and ever so brilliant Leos Carax."

Wikipedia photo
out of the ground
there arose such a nutter,
ate flowers from tombs
without bread and butter,
he went for a toddle,
interrupted a model,
caused a sensation
complete with subtitles
by Kay Davies, June 12, 2013

Scene from Holy Motors
via Wikipedia

Monday, June 10, 2013

A good accident and an amazing place

 Photos by Ronald McCrea for Google Maps, 2012

This morning, purely by accident, I found my husband's long-lost binoculars on a shelf behind the bedroom door. "Just in time," I thought.

Tomorrow, said husband is going out with other members of the Grasslands Naturalists group to visit the amazing area pictured above in photos by Ronald McCrea found on Google Maps.

The place is Red Rock Coulee, less than an hour from home and seemingly on a different planet altogether. This isn't Dick and Lindy's walking coulee. This is an extraordinary place. It's nowhere near as far away as Dinosaur Provincial Park (which is amazing) or the Badlands up around Drumheller way. No, it's near Seven Persons, which is near Medicine Hat, which is near our house. (On the prairie, everything is relative. You know, like the old prairie joke, "It's so flat, you can watch your dog run away from home for five days.")

Next week, for Our World Tuesday, I will, I hope, have photos taken by my very own intrepid photographer, Richard Schear. Meanwhile, thanks to my sweet friend Jenn in Ontario for hosting today's OWT. Hugs to the cats, Jenn!

Posted for
Our World Tuesday

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tree-hugging liberal cries for penguin pain

north polar ice is melting
the bears will have to swim,
all the time, or die;
south pole ice is melting, too,
and penguins cannot fly

what can we do?
we can do much
but we will need much help:
individuals, powerless now, 
must convince
the powerful rich
Richard Schear photo
Galapagos Islands, 2006
that polar bears
and penguins*
all will die
and whales
and grizzly bears
lions, cheetahs,
the list goes on,
but the species don’t.

we’re killing this earth,
this planet, our home,
but those in charge
don’t care.

Note: changes in water currents in the Pacific
Ocean will soon deprive the pictured Galapagos
Penguin of the fish which make up its diet.

Posted for Open Link Monday
at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Puppy pride proves popular

Photos by Kay Davies, April 22, 2013

Lindy doesn't have any new pictures of herself today, so she says it's okay if we post photos of the great-granddogs at two weeks old.
In the photo above, Kiana and Kayen show off two of the 14 (yes, fourteen) pups fathered by their boxer, Rajah, and born to their mastiff-cross, Jezebel, April 8.
Only five of the 14 are left at home now. Kiana and Kayen's parents say they can keep one, and the remaining four should be sold soon. They're so cute! In the photo below, six of the puppies cuddle up together to keep warm while Jezebel is outside.

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

Lindy says, "Hi, Bozo, I love Kayen and Kiana, but I didn't go with my mom and dad when they went to visit the puppies because it would have upset Jezebel. Mama dogs are very protective."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Shadow for Sunday, Nocturna for Real Toads

Richard Schear photo, Cinque Terre, Italy, 2013

is this single shadow all by itself
on the pink of the larger rock below?
no, other shadows lurk, up on cliff shelf.
centuries of water eroded walls
into safety of caves where seabirds know
they can build their nests with less chance of falls
by newly-hatched young who, blundering blind,
into wild waves and the undertow,
erase years of reproducing their kind.

Posted for Shadow Shot Sunday
and for Grace's challenge at the
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads,
where she asks us to write a poem called a "Nocturna"
with nine 10-syllable lines and a rhyme pattern of a b a, c b c, d b d.

Cows are not cattle in Venice

Cows are art in Venice, they aren't considered cattle!

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

Richard Schear photos, Venice, Italy, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

Skies in Italy's Cinque Terre

Photos by Richard Schear, March, 2013

Look up. 
Look wayyyyy up!
There's always something to see when you look upward in Italy's beautiful northwest coastal Cinque Terre region. We loved being there this past winter.

Posted for
Skywatch Friday