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"!