Saturday, 28 December 2013

In Retrospect

The Final Reckoning

When that bell tolls for me up yonder
And my time on earth is gone
I hope I’ll leave with no regrets
About what I should have done.

I hope I’ll have accomplished
All things I set out to do
That I won’t have to pad my slate
And my account of life is true.

There won’t be unfinished business
Those regrets that burden souls
The “should’ve”s “would’ve”s “could’ve”s
Those missed unfinished goals.

I didn’t put off those travels
That gave my life its wings
I’ve lived life to the fullest
And enjoyed the simple things.

I didn’t forgo important dreams
Or put off till tomorrow
Those hopes for great adventure
Those thrills I did not borrow.

I tried to live within my time
Though I was always aiming higher
But I did achieve some fair success
To which I did aspire.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmases Remembered

Being of Ukrainian  ethnic origin, I have memories of many old European traditions that seem to be fading into oblivion here in our "affluent?" society of today.  (Or is it just our North American society?)  I don't know which.  What I do know that our old European heritage ways were rich and vibrant with cultural traditions  that were more than just Santa Claus and presents under the tree.

They were watching for that first star to appear in the heavens so we could start a supper that was served on a table over a bed of straw brought to the house by Dad that evening to represent a stable.  To further the "stable atmosphere", the meal contained no meat, no milk, and no egg products, in honour of the animals that shared their humble abode with the Christ Child who had been refused lodging in the "people's inn".

Not only did we have the special traditional Christmas dishes like the boiled wheat with poppy seed and honey representing sweet and plentiful harvests, and the tri-braided (for the Trinity) round circle of bread that had no beginning and no end, but it also held a burning candle in the middle to represent the light of God in our midst.  Every food served on Christmas eve had some meaning.

Carols were always part of the evening and the season. How well I remember the next day, when the carollers would come to the house. The distant jingle of sleigh bells would announce their impending arrival, as they came in an open sleigh with hoarfrost on their moustaches and on their eyebrows.  After they finished carolling, there was always much merriment as they helped themselves to the mounds of food that Mom put out for them and of course Dad would reward them with his treat which was the home-brewed whiskey that all major events always had to have.  I am certain that that whiskey was what helped to keep them warm --- and eagerly going --- in that 30 below weather.
Those Christmas traditions were truly meaningful and definitely memorable!

But regardless of how you celebrate, traditional or modern, have very Merry Christmas!!!!!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Decorating A Christmas Tree

It Just Is Not "FUN" Anymore

Putting up a Christmas tree is just not fun any more.  It used to be such an exciting day when the children were small.  It was a big issue, a huge job and an extremely momentous event.  I can still feel the thrill of stomping through snow that reached well above our knees, as the five or us, my husband, our three kids and I, searched through the woodland for just the right tree to grace our living room for the holiday season.

When we brought it home, we would very carefully maneuver a heavenly smelling spruce - or, if we were really lucky to find - a fully-branched Scots Pine, (the ultimate prize) through the door that was always way, way too narrow an opening to get through, then drop down panting - often on the floor to rest after the struggle.  Always there were excited, smiling faces, eagerly waiting for us to get up and start setting it up.

Tree decorations were few and simple, a silver star for the top, some old garlands that were begging to be retired years ago, a few plastic and several handmade paper decorations to hang on the tree plus a few very colorful glass balls that were more precious than gold because they were so fragile. (I have wrecked my brain trying to remember where those glass balls came from,  but for the life of me I cannot remember.) They were just there from as far back as I could remember.  I recall buying a couple of strings of Christmas lights after we got hydro in,  so it was really such a special pleasure to see the Christmas tree all lit up. The smell in the house was always of a fresh pine forest.  That was always the added bonus.

Now I have many fancy decorations, lots of flickering colored lights  not just for my artificial tree but for the whole apartment, but the Christmas season lacks its most important ingredient --- the excitement in the eyes of eager children!

Anyway I know many homes are now decorating trees, and hallways, and stairs, etc etc. etc.  If you have kids to help you celebrate, enjoy that bonus!  They grow up and leave!  Me, I am going to spend Christmas with my GROWN-UP family.  Someday, - Hopefully - Great Grand kids! ( God willing, they will help me decorate a real tree!)    
Merry Christmas to all!  

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A Freebee

Free Pre-Christmas Giveaway

Is anyone out there looking for snow?  It is really pretty and white.  Good for skiing, tobogganing,  sledding,  snowshoeing and all manner of winter sports. We won't charge for it.  We'll give it away for free!

We usually kind of like it ourselves, but in more reasonable amounts and, as a rule, somewhat later on into the winter season. However at the rate we are going this year, we can spare much for just giving away to anyone in need. We are confident we'll acquire more for ourselves as the season progresses.

 So come on folks, any takers???? We have enough to spare! And just in time to provide you with a really MERRY WHITE CHRISTMAS!   Get your freebee before this offer expires.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Still Kicking

Still Kickin’

They advertise the merits
Of those creams and smart elixirs
That promise to make you younger
All those magic “old age fixers”.

But I’ve earned every wrinkle
Every crease on there is mine!
I’m past the point of lying
That I’m still “just thirty-nine”!

I proudly display “age spots”
Dark “liver spots” or blotches
All those blemishes that tattle
My complexion now has splotches.

My hair’s no longer dark now
It’s “bottle-blond” for a reason
You won’t detect the gray now
I’m in my “autumn” season. 

But I still keep on dreaming
Of triumphs that may occur
I can’t afford to slacken now
My brain I have to spur!
So don’t you write me off yet
I’m still within the class
I’m happy that I’m kickin’
On the green side of the grass!

Monday, 9 December 2013

A Past Remembered

A Life That Was Never Meant To Be
Sadly she gazes at a photo
In black and white, taken long ago
A baby girl, so sweet and precious
A life to cherish and watch her grow.

She sees a life of bliss, contentment
Her little family is growing fast
Her hopes, her dreams, her life evolving
Her fervent prayer comes true at last.

She pictures images of great successes
She smiles with pleasure and delight
At stumbling steps, and proms, and grad nights
Those wondrous “firsts” for her neophyte,

Her maternal heart dreams, envisions
Such timeless pleasures, with wistful thrill
A golden future of life’s great moments
A glorious prophesy yet to fulfill.

She sees a wedding, a bride so radiant
A white mirage floating down the aisle
An apparition of life enraptured
Her heart so full it lights her smile.

But fate was cruel and life was stolen
Those dreams she’ll never come to see
A poignant memory still full of sorrow
A perfect life not meant to be. 

Friday, 6 December 2013

A Lasting Legacy

A Lasting Legacy  -  Nelson Mandela

The world has lost one of its greatest icons!  I know many people, worldwide, are mourning his loss.  What he stood  for. and the lengths he went to, to stand by his beliefs, will forever be a tribute to his memory.

His philosophy of equality for all peoples is an inspiration to the world - not just this or that country. I just read one of his quotes the other day that said "A winner is a dreamer that never gave up".  That man certainly had a dream and he definitely did not give up on it.  May we all aspire to emulate Nelson Mandella!

Thursday, 5 December 2013


Humble Pie

Seems like my menu for this whole week is strictly Humble Pie  - all the way!

I had planned a lighthearted poem for this posting but  I have to forego that notion.  I just do not feel lighthearted at all tonite.  I feel far too humble to be able to spew trivialities from such a full and grateful heart as mine is at this moment.

I had a very interesting day today.  A friend asked me to accompany her for an Appreciation Luncheon at a Group Home where she works with  handicapped people. If seeing those unfortunate individuals did not debase me enough, seeing the sensitivity and compassion of those care workers certainly cut me to the core.  Their unfailing patience, their cheerful and positive attitude, their calm  understanding and love for their charges truly strummed my heartstrings.  How fortunate the world is to have such people in our midst to take on such benevolent work!

Let’s all just take a good look at our lives and count our many blessings - whatever they may be. Things could be so much worse!
(Sorry to go heavy on you folks again.  I’ll lighten the load next time, I promise.)

Monday, 2 December 2013



I  opened the TV the other day and the program happened to be W5. They were talking about  various disabilities that different people have to live with - physical, mental, emotional, or social ones like poverty, abuse, injustice, etc.  Some people just fold up with a disability. It becomes their master, totally crippling their life. What fascinated me however, were the ones who were able to do something positive with their lives in spite of their handicap, sometimes even capitalizing on their the very handicap that disabled them in the first place. That takes tremendous courage, determination and sometimes even anger or spite!

When the threat of eminent of danger confronts us, it can trigger that "inner warrior"  within us that makes all of us instinctively defend ourselves - sometimes utilizing mechanisms that we were unaware that we even possessed.  That survival instinct is probably stronger in some folks than in others, but perhaps some of us accept defeat too quickly. We have probably all seen the videos of the young fellow who was born with no arms and no legs who is so positive about his life that he now makes a living by giving motivational speeches at schools and social events.  You can see him on  

Now I know that is an extremely extreme case!!! However, determination  can take you a long way. I once wrote a poem called "Who said it was impossible?" Perhaps some of you may have read it, further back in this blog (also in my book "Roots- A Life in Review"and  in my upcoming poetry book "Images From a Pensive Mind").  One of the verses starts out with  "Who said it was impossible  to reach the rainbow's end?"

Life is all about --- Reaching.  If something is beyond our scope of capabilities, we try a different goal or perhaps a different route the the same goal or perhaps we modify the goal! The thing is Do not give up!  It is not our handicap that is our worst enemy, it is that defeatist attitude that disables us worse!!!

When my eye went back in '98, a doctor told me "We don't carry spare retinas!  Learn to live with it!  Other people do, you know".  While I would certainly not recommend that doctor to anyone, he did make me mad enough to fight my way back. Sometimes it takes "mad" to make you do something for yourself.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Today's TV Commercials

I am not the greatest TV fan.  I watch TV as a break from doing something more worthwhile.   Other than news broadcasts, I do not spend too much time on TV.   Light comedy is a good diversion,  the old-time kind, (the modern ones are far too racy for me.) I also like the animal shows and occasionally a good clean movie will get my attention, but for the most part there is always something much more worthy of consuming my precious time.

I do know that commercials are a necessary evil of our time though I must admit I often wonder if they actually generate sales or repel them, especially those annoying ones with the animated gadgets that talk and whine.  No wonder people go to Netflicks nowadays. It is a means of escape from the stupidity!  I do not subscribe to Netflicks myself because I spend so little time on TV, that even  two bits would be wasted money, but I can certainly appreciate their value and understand why Netflicks are such a big hit!

I think the best thing modern technology has given us is the mute button on our TV Remote.  I have often complained about modern technology leaving us old folks too far behind, but that mute button makes me take it all back. I think those old-time TV commercials made some sense, or made you laugh or at least caught your  attention somehow, without insulting your intelligence.  Now we hear of somebody dumping garbage into a room or a car and then bringing "REAL" people to sniff it after some spray has been added to the mix!!!!!! I don't know about you, but do you actually have UNREAL people in your community, - or even in your country?!?!?
I didn't know we had them in ours either.  But obviously they do exist --- in our commercial world!!!!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Aging Woes

Confession Time

She complains about the weather
She complains about her health
She complains about being too busy
She complains the snow won't melt.

It's really grating on the nerves
It gets hard to be polite
It strains the patience to no end
Though you try with all your might.

It's really not that easy
To face the aging years
But it doesn't help to whine and gripe
And to irritate your peers.

(I hope I don't turn out that way
As my aging years advance
I hope to show how it should be done
If I just get the chance.)

But looking back at my dim past
I'm afraid I must admit
This poem is all about me
That complainer - I am IT!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

End of Season Blues

End of Season Blues

Our writing group ended its fall sessions today and I already miss the group. There is something so comforting and invigorating and pleasing about belonging to a group of like-minded people who share your passions, your views and your dreams. We don't necessarily share the same genres of writing, or even the same goals about where we want to go with it, but we all share that impetus that motivates us and that enthusiasm that makes each new day an exciting challenge. We all need that to make our life complete.

We reconvene at the end of January and I can hardly wait.  In the meantime I hope to put the finishing touches on a new book of poems that will hopefully be out for January 1, 2014 and I still have to finish that novel that is still unfinished business on my computer.  So wish me luck! I need it!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Philippine Disaster

Unimaginable  Tragedy

You cannot watch the news these days without seeing those unfathomable tragic scenes of desolation and total ruin in the Philippines.  Seeing the devastation of that nation makes you stop and think about how frail and minuscule we are in the global picture and how fragile our lives (and our good fortune) are in the big scheme of the world.  In the blink of an eye, we can lose EVERYTHING, and life, itself, is certainly on that list.

I talked to a lady today whose son has been living in the Philippines over the last few years.  She is beside herself because she cannot connect with him.  She has no way of knowing if he is alive and suffering somewhere or if he is one of those thousands who perished.  Communication  is mediocre, if existent at all to the ravaged areas and I am certain that this lady is only one of many, many, many, who are feeling that same kind of helplessness.  And just think of those who were in the direct path of the typhoon!!!

How do you even begin to live normally after such a catastrophe???  How can we help - or even begin to? Donations,  important as they are, seem almost trivial against the magnitude of such colossal proportions.  I just hope that all the monetary donations reach their intended destinations and that they offer at least some relief to those unfortunate folk ravaged by this disaster. My heart goes out to all the people affected (directly or indirectly) by this disaster. Hopefully no unscrupulous scam artists are cashing in on this calamity.  That would be the ultimate tragedy and injustice!  


Thursday, 14 November 2013

My Victory

Making Peace With My Computer

I’ve made peace with my computer
As a way of saving face
I don’t ask for special favors
It’s my only saving grace.
It’s been a long time coming
It’s very far past due
I don’t ask for fancy tricks now  
And no snubbing it will do.
 I may not like its attitude
But I won’t let it irk my ire
I’ll keep my calm demeanor
I won’t let my temper fire.
So now we’ve called a final a truce
My only chance to win
The cranky thing will not give up
And I won’t commit more sin! @#$%&*

Monday, 11 November 2013

Remembrance Day


 I was watching the news a minute ago and much of it had to do with the Remembrance Day Ceremonies across the nation.  That is all well and good.  I totally support it.  But I feel that it does not go far enough.  While I know that losing someone in a war is an indescribable tragedy that lives on forever in the families that are left behind, there is just as much pain for the families of the soldiers who come back injured or maimed in some way.  That kind of pain is often not visible or recognizable but most definitely no less real. It is ongoing, constant, unrelenting and  and all too often never-ending.

Those are the tragedies of war that are, in many ways, almost worse.  Nobody wants to acknowledge them - certainly not the military!  Those wounded (mentally or physically) are the forgotten casualties and quite often uncompensated ones.  It  almost seems as if the "lucky" ones are the ones that perish, because their suffering ends there, and they are even recognized and honored for it! The ones that come back maimed whether it is physically or mentally, are forgotten and often left to fend for themselves when they are least equipped to do so.

While I honor the sacrifices of the fallen, let us acknowledge that there are more tragedies of war then just the fallen!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Ongoing Education

Continuing Education

Lately,( more than usual???? or am I just venturing into too many  uncharted waters lately?) I seem to  have been pestering my computer guru/mentor with a myriad of how-do-I do-this and how-do-I-do-that questions.  She seems to have the patience of Job with me, but I am always afraid I am close to pushing her over that final edge!  This "on-going" education is tough on my old brain and it's much worse on my insecure self-confidence.

In my next life, I promise (or hope) to come back as a technical genius that knows all the answers to all the questions and has a monumental and completely unshakable self-assurance that cannot be toppled by anything or anybody!!!!     There just has to be an easy way to get all my ideas on paper without struggling or faltering.  I just gotta find it!!!!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tragedy of Alzheimer's

Forever Lost
He stands alone, weeping, broken,
Pathetic, shattered, and forlorn.
Words surround him, he can hear them
Curses, obscenities, vile, irate
Words he never thought she'd known.

Seated before him – an angry woman
Not the mother he used to know
That loving nature, forever giving
That generous soul with never a foe
Decorous persona, serene and tender, 
With a heart so pure it defied ill will!

Somewhere from the depths of evil
A cruel disease had o’rpowered her brain
Had turned that sweetness into rancour
And acrimony, unprovoked, unbidden
Had claimed authority o’er her reign.

Now broken-hearted, her son stands sobbing
Before a mother who remembers not
Those years now gone, so full of promise
Of sweet devotion and compassion, 
A life of glorious family love.

A doting mother she had once been
Cooing love songs to her spawn
Cradling children to her bosom
And her ever-loving heart. 
That mother love’s now but a memory
A mother whose son now mourns as gone!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween Fun

Halloween Frolics

With Halloween upon us, my mind wanders to days gone by ("so what else is new with you?" you ask).  You are right.  I do dwell in the past alot, don't I?  Perhaps I am just too old to get into those shenanigans any more now, but Halloween used to be such a hoot for us.  Oh, we never got destructive or mean or hurtful to anyone, but we sure had fun!!!

My girlfriend and I were close to retirement age the year we decided to dress up for Halloween and crash a Seniors Halloween Dance.  On a trip to Morocco the year before, I had purchased a couple of nylon, caped, gowns trimmed with gold embroidery that I had planned to  use for lounging around the house on casual evenings. By adapting these outfits and adding gold belts, lots of bangle jewelry, lace pillbox gold-trimmed head pieces and lacy veils from just below our eyes, we were totally unrecognizable!  Timing our arrival under darkness so that no one would see which car we came from  (in a small town, everyone knows your car) we entered the hall and joined the crowd. We did not speak (so we could not be identified by our voices) and with our faces veiled we had a ball as everyone tried unsuccessfully to guess who we were. When the music started, we deliberately asked various people to dance, men, women, strangers, friends, young, old, etc. This totally confused everyone. .

I left that hall "a complete unknown" taking with me a hilarious memory of the evening. Being the blabbermouth that I usually am, my biggest challenge that night was to not utter a single word for an entire evening, but I succeeded and no one did figure out who I was.  I was a fantastic evening!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

What Is Success?

My Validation

I never wished for riches
I never wished for gold
I never dreamed of mansions
To have when I grow old

My dreams were rather simple
Though you may find them quaint
I’ve never been the “bad one”
But I never was a saint.

Success just meant achieving
A measure of recognition
A line to say I’ve been here
My goals have reached fruition.

So take your wealth and riches
And enjoy them as you will
I’ll enjoy my small successes
That’s where I get MY thrill!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Life Lessons

Some Peoples Children!

My daughter keeps telling me to grow up and act my age!  Honestly!  The nerve of some people's children!!! Just no respect for their elders at all.

Okay, so I should not be in such a hurry all the time.  At my age, I should not be galloping across the street like a race horse, especially when I do have plenty of time to take it slow.  But Sheesh! Old habits are tough to break! I have been rushing to - or - from something  all my life.  My dignity notwithstanding, I see no reason to stop now! There is always something - or somewhere - worth hurrying to, and wasting time has never been my forte! It's just is not my style, though I may have to admit that sometimes it might be less painful to slow down!

I was hurrying to a meeting last week and I was trying to cross the street before the light changed.  In my headlong dash, my foot caught on something and I literally crashed onto the pavement. Other than my dignity and a skinned knee, I did not think I hurt anything too badly.  I got up really fast, hoping no one witnessed my humiliation  but I am sure some people took a vivid image home of an old woman galloping across the street and the next moment splayed out flat, face down, on the pavement.

Anyway, I know I broke nothing but MAN!!! I hurt in places that never even got near that pavement! Those areas must be having sympathy pains for the areas that connected!   I realize that "this, too, shall pass!" but honestly, even losing my dignity did not hurt this much!
(Maybe I should listen to that cheeky kid of mine afterall!)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Memory Lane

I was looking for a certain file last night and I came across this poem.  I thought I wrote it for my blog but 
I could not find it so if this is a repeat, please forgive me.  My computer says I created it last month.  I remember thinking of a certain friend in connection with it.


Amid thoughts that wander, stray and ramble
And memories all so poignant still
She sits alone rocking gently
With sinking heart and tear-filled eyes.
And faltering steps, she strolls through time.

She dreams, envisions and revisits
Those yesteryears forever gone
A distant past though unforgotten
A life of pleasures and delights
A life of sunshine - and of shadows
When life was full and graced with love.

Those days are gone but she remembers
Those intense moments of lows and highs
A steady stream of tears and laughter
Youthful spirits, exuberance, joy
A life that's now but a memory.

She sits - and rocks - alone!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Nature's Gifts

Autumn Beauty

Jack Frost was supposed to have visited us last night but we are still basking in the grandeur of the last hurrah of summer's flowers - now enhanced by the brilliant fall colors of the trees that have not released their leaves yet. The splendor of this season is breathtaking, though I believe that we, as Canadians do not appreciate it enough.

Fall beauty comes with a price!  Living in an apartment, I don't rake leaves anymore, but I recall when I owned my home it was not necessarily a chore I actually welcomed too much, especially if I had just finished doing it the day before, and overnight, the wind blew in my neighbor's leaves to replace them. To us, here in Canada, those gorgeous fall colors represent work, but people who don't get them, don't mind the work as long as they can enjoy the beauty. Can you actually imagine a fall without that brilliant foliage?

When we visited Australia, we were told that Australia's  trees do not change color.  In order to  enjoy that kind of beauty, Australia actually imports deciduous trees from other countries strictly for their fall foliage.

 It's a gorgeous time of the year, that time just before the leaves desert the lofty perches of the trees.  They  add such brilliant color to the landscape.
 Edmonton's fall skyline as as seen from the12th floor window

 I took this of our courtyard and gazebo in the back yard. Jack Frost will be wiping this out any day now.  Even the leaves on some of our trees are still green!   It is alittle cool to sit out there and bask in this glory these days,  but I am just on the fourth floor and I can enjoy this splendour from the comfort of my room.  These days are so numbered!  I am going to savour every moment I get!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

On Thanksgiving Day


As I look back over many years
Days full of joy and full of tears
Big expectations and morbid fears
We faced it all - and made life good!

We laughed, we cried, we danced, we hobbled
Our grim determination merely doubled
Steadfastly denying that we were troubled
By trials that life dumped in our path.

But life was good and life was giving
Through it all we made a living
God was patient, all forgiving
For our ingratitude and complaints.

Now comes the time to recognise
That blessings come in a disguise
With family woes and family ties
That we ofttimes fail to appreciate.

For gifts received and gifts rejected
Those gifts we should have all respected
For the things that we least expected
And failed to see their value mount.

So let's bow our heads and give our thanks
For all those people in our ranks
Fond memories in our "data banks"
And  a life that's full of blessings still!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Looking Back

A Backward Glance

Musing, remembering, reminiscing,
A reverie replete with aspiration and idealistic ambition,
Searching for the right words to convey
Those emotions so embedded in the psyche.
That prophecy spawned of a bouyant confidence
Emboldened by youthful optimism and vague design
Now abounding with achievement incomplete.
An experience untouched by life, as yet unaware.

But there is something disconcerting
Fraught with angst and unease
About exposing –
Or imploding a profile of a life
Displaying its illusion
Its hunger still unsated,
Its goal still awaiting confirmation
Its tenure still seeking termination
And in so doing
For all life’s trials – a recompense!

Monday, 30 September 2013


Dreams- Fact or Fiction

When I got up this morning, I felt down  and depressed (doubtlessly caused by another one of my stupid and totally ridiculous dreams that sometimes invade my sleep time). I have heard people say that "dreams are wishes that your heart makes".  I could stand on the highest mountain and very loudly and very vehemently shout my denial of that statement . I'd have to be a raving lunatic to even consider some of the subjects I dream about - even if I had been born minus a heart!

Oh, it's not that my dreams are mean or full of unspeakable scenes, but it's just that they are sometimes so typically nonsensical, they are almost science fiction. ( And I am not into sci fi at all in real life.) So when I wake up after one of those dreams, I spend alot of precious time trying to figure out when where that silly idea came from in the first place.  Do I have a split personality??? What??? If I do, I'd like to meet this other "me". Perhaps I can be an ultra- successful author of science fiction novels. Certainly, they would  be much more interesting than my real life stories are.  They would have all my readers on the edge of their chairs, even the ones that were never interested in science fiction before!

Friday, 27 September 2013


Compensating for Shortfalls

What is it about night time that seems to fuel the creative juices of the mind???  I hear people say "I'm a morning person. I do my most important work in the mornings!"

I just envy people who can "schedule" their productivity that well.  I must be a very disorganized person! My mind works on whim - never predictably (except in its unpredictability). I do have an overriding writing  goal and I am somewhat monomaniacal about it, but my "success???" toward that endeavor comes in time increments that are  unbidden, unbridled, unscheduled and sometimes even most inopportune!

That is why I can be at my computer at four o'clock in the morning just as easily as at four in the afternoon. All too often, sleep seems like a waste of time - particularly when the brain is still spinning and flinging ideas out in all directions. If I don't net them immediately, they fly out into the great beyond and are forever lost.

To overcome that problem, I used to keep a pen and a writing tablet on my bedstand, right under the lamp, to record fleeting ideas that merited preservation. Now, I have a voice-activated little tape recorder beside my pillow.  (You do what you have to do to compensate for shortfalls!) They say that when one part of you fails to work, other parts have to step in and fill the void.

Sleep time is negotiable, particularly when you are retired,  but even retirees need to recognize its value!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Just Nonsense


My poetic tire was hissing
There was no more air inside
I knew something was missing
I thought my brain was fried.

My wheels were turning slower
There was little oomph or speed
I must man that pump with power
Or hire myself a steed!

My zest for verse is getting rough
I can feel it shutting down
If I don't get off my old fat duff
Those faculties will drown.

I've gone to prose and story
That's not a problem yet
But verse in all its glory
Is a thrill I can't forget.

So bear with me in patience
While I pump air into those tires
 I will regain my licence
Before my term expires.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Today's Dream Today's Action

Dreams to Live By

Many years ago I belonged to Toastmasters.  I joined them with the express purpose of overcoming crippling insecurities. My timidity in front of crowds or strangers was turning ordinary situations into major struggles for me. I knew I needed to overcome that handicap in order to function in regular society.  So I joined Toastmasters  to  try to conquer my irrational fear.
In Toastmasters, we had to write and deliver speeches in front of other members. We had to be take our turn at conducting meetings.  We had to stand up and speak intelligently on any given subject for at least two minutes (without any preparation).  In other words, we had to learn to think on our feet.  It was good - but brutal training for someone with a monumental inferiority complex! I panicked, I stammered, I flubbed,  – badly! I literally wanted to turn and run and just forget about everything. 
But I hate unfinished business - and I hate quitting even more.  So good, bad or otherwise, I determined to complete that course. I did a few contortionist moves, kicked myself in my you-know-what, and did what I thought was impossible.  I completed the course - even made it to the Regional finals with my “Humorous Speech”.  Nothing spectacular, but for me, it was a major conquest!
When I retired, I found myself  stagnating intellectually.  I had no stimulation for my brain and at times I felt almost apprehensive about my mental state.  I'd forget something - or someone's name - and fret about deteriorating mental capacities.  I worried that old age was coming around more quickly than I wanted.  I still had a lot of unfinished business to complete.  I could not afford to get old, senile or ill. 
We all have dreams, hopes, aspirations, passions, pet hobbies, . Me – I like to write – poems, stories, a real novel – perhaps.  Someday – perhaps. 
I now have four books on line.  God willing, there will be more.
So here is the lesson that I want to impart to you – Don’t just flirt with “someday”.         Dream it???  Then DO it!     NOW!!!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Animal Therapy

Animal Magnetism
I was watching the Animal Channel on TV the other day  (one of my favourite channels, the other one being Nat Geo Wild).  The program was called Animal Magnetism.  I am so in agreement with what they were saying there.  The show was about how animals help sick children - and adults - to live a full life, get over a debilitating handicap, or in some cases even cure one.

Growing up and living on a farm most of my life I have always had very close relationships with animals.  (My two  memoir books relate many of our liaisons with the special animals in our lives.) However now I live in an apartment that does not allow us to have pets and that is my only drawback to this place, though I can fully understand their reasoning for that stipulation.  Sometimes it is just easier to prevent a problem than to have to correct it. This kind of apartment building has potential for animal problems. It is just much better to avoid those hassles.

Luckily I do have a partial solution to that problem.  My daughter, who lives here in the city, owns a miniature schnauzer and I kind of have some dibs on dog-love whenever I visit there.  When I was ill this spring, I stayed at Carol's while I convalesced and Bentley was my therapy dog. He was a such a sweetheart, just lay quietly beside me, his soulful eyes almost infusing me with his good health and energy.  Animals truly do have a healing  influence and they just seem to know when you need comfort and peace!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Value of Research

The Value of Research

I was just reading Kristin Lamb’s blog and in her advice to writers, she was emphasizing the importance of researching the material you are writing about in order to avoid advertising your ignorance of your subject to your readers.  She cited a passage where an author wrote a story that involved guns but because of the author’s ignorance about guns, the author said something that was grossly inaccurate and impossible!   I can relate to Kristen’s frustration with the author ignorance. 

I once was reading a book (by a well known author) who wrote a novel that involved ranching and farming.  In her novel, this author frustrated me not once, not twice, but several times with her ignorance by talking about “castrating cows” and rounding up cattle from a distant mountain pasture in the space of a couple of hours and of shooting bear with a “shotgun” (without even the mention of slug shot). 

 Now as a long-time farmer, I was ready to pitch the book across the room just like Kristen did whenever the “castrating cows” and those expeditious cattle drives were mentioned.  That author obviously had absolutely no knowledge of farming or ranching and gave no consideration to the fact  that someone with a farming or ranching background might read her book and catch her glaringly obvious faux pas.
I know that it is difficult to have a working knowledge of every subject but is it not possible to just go generic and just say “castrating cattle or even livestock”?  The specific word “cows” could thus have been avoided and the author’s obvious ignorance camouflaged. The specific time lapse of the cattle drive could also have been simply avoided without detriment to the story.  

Research takes time and effort but sometime it is time well spent and Kristen had a good point there.

Counting Blessings

"Hope Springs Eternal"

I was just talking to a friend of mine who has terminal cancer and I was awed by her courage and her upbeat attitude. Some people should remain in this world forever, simply to maintain sanity in the rest of us. If it is true that the "Good Die Young", it is truly a great misfortune.  We all need a voice of reason to get us through difficult times in our life, but few of us can maintain an upbeat attitude in the face of tragedy or disaster. That takes fortitude of the kind few of us can muster .

I know some of my readers may be struggling with problems not exactly of their own making. Some of those problems are fixable, while others seem totally insurmountable.  However, sometimes a positive and optimistic attitude gives us the where-with-all to keep our heads above water even in the face  of adversity.

To all those struggling with problems today, I wish you the power of my friend's optimistic and positive outlook.   Her approach to tragedy was certainly a lesson in humility to me!  I should be counting my blessings instead of looking for little things to complain about.  Perhaps we all should.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Back Home Again

Well we're back home again after a fabulous 10-day holiday in Newfoundland! Although I have done my share of sightseeing tours pretty well worldwide, this was my first trip to our own east coast.  I found it absolutely fascinating!!! This unique area of our country is unlike any other place I have ever seen.  For us prairie chickens, it would definitely be "cottage country" with its myriad of beautiful lakes, rugged  hills, picturesque valleys and magnificent shorelines.  I was totally mesmerized (and more than a little intimidated) by the steep grades and often rather sharp curves of the roads that wind their way between the almost canyon-like rocky slopes and traverse the the island with such ease.  To me, they seemed like major engineering marvels.

We  spent several days sightseeing, exploring, and even took a boat ride out to see the whales and puffins, something that I truly enjoyed.  Newfoundland folks are so friendly and fun loving and so down-to-earth, so we felt welcome and at home all the time we were there.  They truly made our trip a wonderful and very interesting adventure.  They have so much fascinating history. I even climbed up to the Signal Hill "overlook"!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Nature's Bounty

Cherries Jubilee
There are alot of pies here and what does not go into delectable desserts makes very good wine!  Nature has been very generous this year.  The trees are loaded and as we drive down the back lanes, or out among the fruit farms, there is much to whet your appetite and tease your palette. There are tons of raspberries, sakatoon, cherries, apples, plums, and even apricots to temp us to stop and buy or perhaps at least to taste!


Saturday, 17 August 2013


Always Late
Okay, whoever is stealing time here, please give it back.  I still need it ---- badly!

I just checked my blog and I realized that my good intentions of at least one posting  per week has somehow badly fallen by the wayside.  I think it was Lefty Frizzell that used to sing that song "Always Late". He wanted kisses.  Me, I am more realistic with my expectations, I'm not quite so vain any more.  (That comes naturally with advancing age, you know.)  Still, even at this age, forget about that dog chasing his own tail. I still picture myself desperately hanging on to last few long hairs of the tail of a galloping horse  - and no matter how much I holler "Whow", that horse refuses to stop - or even slow down!!!!

I must be doing something wrong that I cannot catch up with my good intentions.  Stay with me folks.  I'll get there someday - somehow. Winter is coming and the cold will slow us all down.  Am I looking forward to THAT??????!!!!!   (Smarten up, Woman!)

always Late

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Gifts To Appreciate

A Crucial Luxury

I just got off the EPL site (Edmonton Public Library) where I browse for my reading material.  I am so glad to see that  there is a good selection of audio literature available to the people that have vision deficiencies. Just fifteen years ago, I could not fathom the importance of audio books.  Today I cannot fathom life without them!  In my memoir book, I called them a "Crucial Indulgence"!  That is what they are - Crucial - to those of us who have lost the luxury of simply picking up a book and enjoying the message within.  There are many of us that just cannot do that anymore.  Audio books are our lifeline!  When your eyesight is undiminished, you can navigate those tiny cell phones and all the information of that tiny microcomputer that puts the knowledge of the world at your fingertips.  Not so for us that are sight handicapped.

There are many authors that do not do audio books and that is a pity.  From personal experience, I know that I am limited to the rather few authors that do audio books.  I am so grateful that there are a good number of very good authors that do cater to us.  However, I am certain there are many good authors whose books I will never enjoy simply because I cannot read a book. My very own books are only in the printed word so far, though it is still my dream that I can somehow eventually get them onto audio, simply because I I feel I owe it to my similarly afflicted readers.

Therefore I say to those that still have the gift of good eyesight  --- Cherish it!!!   It can be gone tomorrow , no warning, no reason, no reversal!  Believe me, I know.  It happened to me.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Unique Pets

How is This for a Pet?

On nice days, especially in summer, I  like to take a leisurely walk down the promenade overlooking the verdant valley that runs through almost the middle of our city of Edmonton.   Along with the scenic beauty, I enjoy the fresh air and the relative peace and tranquility of an almost country atmosphere as the promenade is off the busy thoroughfare of bustling city traffic that seems muted and distant here. Many people utilize this area to just sit and bask in the sun on one of the countless benches along the promenade, for walking or running for their own personal exercise, or for walking their pets . It is our little piece of Eden within an urban setting and we all love it.

The other day, I had the pleasure of a very unique experience of seeing someone who was walking his pet - a tortoise - an African Desert Tortoise.  It was a most fascinating sight. Absolutely beautiful!  As you can imagine, this pet attracted the attention of just about everyone that happened to be on the promenade that afternoon.  That turtle was at least two feet long and probably about eighteen inches high.  it just ambled along slowly, oblivious to the admiration of his bedazzled fan club. The owner said it was fourteen years old and he had had it since it was tiny enough to fit in the palm of his hand.
 You just never know who you will run into on the Promenade!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

On Racism

In The Footsteps Of our Race

I was watching CNN the other day and the topic was about racial prejudices and the plight of blacks and other minority races.  As a Ukrainian growing up in the forties, I can almost empathize with those who are on the receiving end of racial prejudice.  Mind you, I grew up on a farm in a very rural setting and was surrounded by other Ukrainians so I was not subjected to the painful bigotry and racial slurs that my father spoke about.  When he came to Canada, Ukrainians were ostracized and ridiculed. They were the “Bohunks”,  the “Galicians”, and whatever other derogatory term the superior English cared to label the poor peasant immigrants and  that came to Canada at the turn of the century. 

I did not hear those terms myself but I do remember being strapped for saying even a single Ukrainian word while I was on the school grounds.  Use of Ukrainian was cause for corporal punishment. In fact when I started school, because I knew no English, I was relegated to be a total mute for months, until I became proficient in the English language.  When we moved to the village for my grade nine, I was often teased for my Ukrainian accent.  (I still have it, I think, but in today’s multicultural society, I don’t think people notice it - or care anymore.) I do know that I have always felt that I needed to work harder than other folks to overcome the stigma of inferiority. I am still super-sensitive to those jokes and songs that depict Ukrainians as being dim-witted, slovenly, whiskey-swilling drunks in dirty coveralls and babushkas that are the source of “stupid” jokes in more sagacious society.

The way I see it, I don’t think any race, black, white or purple, has a monopoly on smart or stupid, good or bad, neat or slovenly, compassionate or mean, superior or inferior. Every race has its share of the good and the bad.  Every now and then, some person will rise out of the populace and leave some indelible imprint of him/herself that we find  fantastically great and admirable or absolutely terrible and atrocious.  The rest of us are then left to either try to bask in their shadow or to forever try hide from it. Both are difficult.

Would not life be wonderful if each and every one of us was judged solely on our own merits rather than on those of someone else - a single person or a whole race?  

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Life Lessons

I just finished  reading - actually LISTENING (due to poor vision, I only do audio books), to Debbie Macomber's  book "God's Guest List" and  I just  realized how my last post " I'm a Wannabe" must look and sound. I am afraid that, in that post, I must sound extremely self-centered and egotistical.  I give no credit to the many "enablers" that have helped me to get to where I now am.  I did not get there under just only my own steam, though I must admit  to a somewhat monomaniacal personality.  My excuse for that is: now that I am retired, I can afford monomania.

 But getting back to to the subject I was talking about.  I realize that to some readers the very title of that book would be a turn-off!  Many people just cringe at the thought of being preached to. They do not wish to hear  bible passages or religious sermons and the like. But  the title  "God's Guest List" in this case is rather misleading.  Although the author does quote bible passages and she does relate the passages to her subject, this book is really not a "religious" book as per say.  The whole book is simply a philosophical approach to life in general.  Yes, it fits a religious theme, but that same approach can fit into an atheist's lifestyle or the lifestyle of any other religion (though I have to confess to ignorance of specifics of  religions other than Christianity).  Still, I am confident that other religions all share the same basic concept of "decency and common sense". What this book promotes is not "Christian religion"!  It advocates a common sense philosophy of life: "Strive to do your best and take advantage of each and every opportunity that presents itself along your path. Cash in on the lessons of your mistakes and the difficulties that you encounter along the way toward the achievement of your goals.

A couple of years ago, I blogged a short poem here entitled "The Value of a Mistake" (October 27, 2011), and that theme fits in with the suggestions that this book advocates.  Religion or philosophy, this book makes total sense for just plain LIVING and getting the most out of  life!