Friday 30 December 2016

New Year's Eve, A Day Early.

I've been waiting since I started this blog back in March to write this story.

It happened one New Year's Eve, perhaps four or five years ago. A snowstorm had been forecast, and as the day wore on, the forecast proved to be right. Huge snowflakes began to fall, quickly covering the ground and starting to pile up.

We are not party goers, so New Year's Eve was just like any other evening for us. My husband was snoring in front of the TV, and I was on the computer reading blogs. As the evening wore on, I looked out the window into our back yard to see how the storm was progressing.

And there, in the dimness, I saw a large deer standing at the edge of the yard, her back to the trees, with the soft, heavy snowflakes drifting down around her. It was a scene straight out of a Christmas card.

As I watched, things became more interesting. A much smaller deer materialized from the side of our yard, approached the large one and they touched noses for several seconds. Then the little one ambled off again to graze on our shrubs.

By this time I had become more alert, and noticed a second small deer to one side, and as I watched, it, too, approached the large deer, touched noses, and was sent away to graze some more.

I watched in fascination as these actions were repeated several times over. The large deer, which I have to think was the mother, didn't take a bite for herself. She stood as still as a statue, and was soon covered in snow, barely visible. But she kept sending her babies back to eat more, somehow sensing that the coming weather would make it hard to find food for an extended period, and trying to store up food the only way she knew how - in her babies' bellies.

I left the window for a reason I can no longer recall, and when I returned, all three deer were gone.

I thought of them over the next three days as we experienced one of our more severe snowstorms in the recent past. It took that long for our street to be plowed, and until it was, we could not leave our yard, the snow was so deep. It was undoubtedly hard for all wildlife to get around and find food, and it still hurts my heart to think of that mother's devotion and the struggle she and her little ones must have had for weeks after that storm.

Every time we have a heavy, soft snowfall - and every New Year's Eve - I remember that mama and her two babies.

And that is my New Year's Eve story, a day early.

Okay, people, haul out your sturdy little imaginations, because this is NOT a photo of the three deer in our back yard but with just a few minor changes in your mind's eye it will suffice. First, take out the steps, the lights and the benches. Then add a large deer and two small ones, a few half-eaten rhododendrons, and the distant glow of the streetlight that lives in front of our house. There! Isn't that lovely? Thanks, Pixabay, for coming through for me yet again.

Happy New Year, friends. I hope 2017 treats you well.

Do you have a favourite New Year's Eve memory you'd like to share? I'd love to hear it. 

Monday 26 December 2016

Too Much Pie? Maybe.

Just a quick post to say that I feel like a stuffed

because I ate too much Christmas

among other things.

I'm thinking I'll just chill out and

and when I wake up, it will be time to go buy some new

No no no no no ... not a new dog, new PANTS :)

I hope your celebration was excellent but somehow magically does not require new pants.

Until next time ...

... I'll just stand here - a donkey in a pie-induced fog - until things are clearer.

(All photos courtesy of Pixabay.)


Friday 23 December 2016

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Only two more sleeps 'til the big day!

There was some pie making and gift wrapping and list making going on here last night, and the long and short of the matter is that I blew in the door later than usual to post this Christmas note to my bloggy friends. And in the interest of full disclosure, there is a dusting of flour on my person, sticky tape on my sock, and yet another visit scheduled for the grocery store.

Fortunately, my sore foot has improved greatly in the past few days. My only problem while shopping was that my socks kept creeping lower and lower in my boots. But after the pain I'd been having, I LAUGHED in the face of ill-behaved, creeping sock lumps in my boots, and smiled happily at my fellow shoppers. They became somewhat wary, and kept their distance, but that wasn't such a bad thing given the time of year.

I'll leave you with a picture of the happiest little tree in our neighbourhood; it positively glows. It's my favourite and I'm so delighted each year when its owners get it all gussied up for another Christmas.

I wonder how many lights are on there?

I hope you all have a happy holiday, whatever name or shape it takes, and I wish you peace and contentment as you slow your life a little, or a lot, to enjoy the season.

Happy Merry Jolly, my friends.

Monday 19 December 2016

Not Reindeer Games, But Fun Anyhow

When our children were growing up, Santa left a game for the family under the tree every Christmas.

Prior to children we had already acquired Scrabble, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit.

After the kids came along, Santa added Bingo, Dominoes, Tri-Ominoes, Yahtzee, Traverse, Scattergories, and Balderdash, and others which I can't name now because they were passed on to other children . I always wanted Sorry and Clue, having played them elsewhere, but they never made the grade with Santa.

There's one children's game I will never forget, though -- Hungry Hungry Hippos, which has to be in the running for the world's noisiest game. Players must depress a lever to make their hippo reach forward and gobble up as many marbles as possible. It was a lot of fun, but it was a terrible game if anyone had a headache or was trying to sleep or just wanted a bit of peace and quiet. It was easy for little players (and maybe bigger players, too) to get carried away smashing and crashing to get the most marbles.

If you haven't heard of it before, here's what you were missing:

Don't be fooled by those well-behaved, firmly seated, dainty-handed children in the ad. That was just a ploy by the manufacturer to get parents to buy it.

I was glad when the kids outgrew HHH, but, strangely, I have fond memories of playing it with them. I'm sure they probably argued over it sometimes, but all I remember now is the laughing and giddiness.

We still play Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit on occasion, but the rest of the games sit untouched in a chest.

Are you now - or have you ever been - a fan of board games? Do you have a favourite, whether it's from childhood, young adulthood, or currently? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday 16 December 2016

Catching Up With P. Donkey

On the menu today is ...... hodgepodge.

Not this:

(Image is taken from the website in the link just below)

... even though it is a delightful late summer vegetarian meal made with fresh vegetables and cream ... (you can find a traditional recipe here) ........

... but, not that kind of Hodge Podge.

I meant a hodgepodge of topics.

Here we go.

1. If Terry Stynes, who wrote The blog of Treey for a few months recently, is reading, or if anyone who knows him in real life is reading, would it be possible to let his fellow bloggers know if he is okay? Just post a comment below.

 Terry took his blog down after suddenly announcing his final post. I know that in one way it is nobody's business but his own what happened to make him take that decision, but in another way we are a social group just as in real life and it is alarming when someone disappears.

 Despite the stroke that left him in a wheelchair and unable to speak, Terry was an articulate person online, and opened more than a few eyes to the challenges of those in his situation.Terry, you were one of us, and I for one miss your observations on the world.

2. The probable cause of my foot issue is severe plantar fasciitis, and after six weeks of exercises, heat, massage and TENS (like electrocution but less deadly) it hadn't noticeably improved. So the physiotherapist suggested shock-wave therapy. It's like a mini-jackhammer, and is used to break up scar tissue and calcification by rapid-fire hammering on the sore spot and inducing "good" inflammation. I now know why it's called "good" - because for the 48 hours after treatment, when the inflammation was present, the pain went away. Unfortunately, after that time it came back. But it will take a series of four or five treatments to see if it's going to help long-term.

 Has anyone out there had this treatment, and if so, how did you get along with it?

3. We've been getting a variety of precipitation here the last week and a half. Snow/rain/snow in wildly fluctuating temperatures is causing slush/snow/ice on everything. The good thing about it is that all the white reflects the light and makes things merry and bright. The bad things, and note that I used the plural there, are bad driving, soggy outerwear, damp feet (I may need new boots), the extra time it takes to clear ice and snow from the car before any attempt to drive, and the shovelling. Other than those, it's fine. Bring it, winter. We laugh in your face. Or we would, if we weren't so tired from all the extra work.

4. My much-anticipated-or-perhaps-more-accurately-much-feared haircut turned out well!!!! Yes, it takes four exclamation points to express my happiness. I should have switched stylists long ago. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. It could really have gone either way. (Actually, it didn't start out very well. I showed up a day early and caused several people, including myself, to sweat out of proportion with the frigid temperature. It was my mistake - I read my calendar wrong - and I'm just terribly happy that I was early, not late.)

5. Only nine days until Christmas, if you celebrate that. The oncoming train of stuff to do that I wrote about in October  is right behind me now. And possibly right behind some of you. To refresh your memory, that train looked like this:

... up close and coming fast ...

 A wise woman I know once said, "Why are we always so surprised that Christmas has arrived? It's not like it's on a different date every year. And yet ..."


6. Steve, who blogs at Shadows & Light posted a link to an article titled Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency the other day, and I'd like to share it here with anyone who hasn't yet seen it. It's a lengthy piece but well worth the read if you're interested in or worried about the results of the American election. President Obama is an intelligent man, a thinker, a measured speaker and a father, and I was heartened by his views and comments, and by his advice to his own two girls. Thanks for pointing out the article, Steve.

I think I've successfully emptied my brain of all the stuff that's been rabbiting around in there since Monday.

Speaking of rabbits, and who doesn't love an adorable bunny wabbit, here's a picture:

Wait a sec ... this Arctic Hare looks too worried. Not the look I was going for. Let's try another.

That one looks like a donkey! Highly appropriate, but still not what I had in mind. Third time lucky, maybe? ...

 Yikes ... that poor thing appears to be suffering from mumps ... moving right along ...

 Eep! Too much eyeliner!!!

Okay, FINALLY, this is what I was picturing:

 He/she was almost certainly the model for Peter Rabbit in Beatrix Potter's fine stories. All he needs is a little blue coat.

Hope your weekend is a good one.

(Photos and graphic courtesy of Pixabay, except the Hodge Podge photo, whose source is indicated in the caption.)

Monday 12 December 2016

The Guilty Party

Well, that was convenient.

I had decided not to post any more videos from my beginner camera because once they are uploaded here they are so small it's hard to see what's happening in them. And if I use the zoom feature when taking the video, the texture gets grainy.

But (whiny tone) I really, really wanted to share videos without spending a boatload of money on new equipment, which I have no intention of doing.

Then I caught a deer chomping on our rhododendron bush today.

(The same rhododendron bush which hasn't had a bloom on it for years, because the deer eat the leaves and buds off every winter. Rhodies are evergreens that keep their leaves for the winter and set buds for early spring blossoming. They are to deer what cheese-and-cracker packs are to kids (and me) - two compatible foodstuffs conveniently packaged in one container.)

The bush is quite near our house, so it was easy to get a very close-up video without using too much close-up button on the camera. I won't be able to tell until this post goes live if this is an improvement on previous videos, but I hope it is. If not, I'll have to decide if I'm game to use Youtube for my videos instead. (Using my one brain cell for learning new technology - ewww!)

Goodbye rhododendron. I'm sorry, but the deer have to eat something. And our town just passed a bylaw forbidding residents to set out food for wildlife ........ but they never said anything about growing snacks for them .....

If you have the sound turned on, you may hear one of our cats purring, and near the end the clock is chiming ... just so you don't worry that you're hearing things, if you hear things.

Here is another video, even closer:

I don't think this is one of "our" three deer that often visit. While driving through our neighbourhood, I have occasionally seen a single deer making the rounds. The one in the video here has stockier legs and a somewhat shorter face. And he was all alone for over an hour in our back yard, first eating, then settling down for a rest, then eating again. You can see one of "our" deer up close in that post I linked to just above. Our three always travel together; as I've mentioned, I think it's a mama and her two spring babies. Perhaps "our" deer includes a fourth now.

A photo for those who don't like to click on videos:

He looks a bit like a donkey. Hmm. Purely coincidence, I assure you.

Update on my last post ... the sun came out less than twenty-four hours after I posted, and it helped lift my mood, thankfully. I'm taken aback to be so affected by the gray skies after spending my whole life not minding them. Thank you to everyone for your kind comments and helpful suggestions. It must be a very hard thing to deal with depression on an ongoing basis. I've had a glimpse, a mere blink, relatively speaking, and I feel more than ever for all those who struggle.

Friday 9 December 2016

The Post That I Should Not Have Written

Procrastinating Donkey has been doing some pretty good procrastinating lately. Especially when it comes to writing blog posts.

And once it gets within three hours of my regular posting time, any tiny seedlings of ideas that I might have had earlier in the day or week suddenly wither and die from being looked at with a panicky critical eye, or else they shuffle with surprising haste out the doorway of my brain, waving their tiny undeveloped leaves in farewell.

I actually started a post that might turn into something good but I had to reacquaint myself with the facts so that it would be a post I could be happy with, but the facts involved watching two 90-minute videos and reading a huge Wikipedia entry so I ran out of time to finish. 

So then I was going to write about how I'm still not back to walking, because just as my hip and back issues were getting worked out, I started having trouble with one of my feet, and I need to be stingy with how much I use my feet so that I can get through my normal day without disabling pain in that one underperforming, structurally unsound foot, and that leaves no room for walking for either exercise or pleasure. And also I'm re-gaining the weight that I lost last spring. But I don't feel like talking about it, because someone is sure to suggest swimming as an alternative form of exercise, and if there's something I would less rather do to burn calories and get fit I have no idea what it would be.

Then I was going to write about how I'm noticing a drop in my mood, which is very unusual for me, and how I'm vigilant about mood because there's a good bit of depression in my family, although I've escaped it so far, luckily, and so I make sure to try to figure things out, and that the only reason for it that I can come up with is the dreary, gray-brown landscape of early winter, and that I'm also thinking that my reaction to that colourlessness is somehow springing from the same awareness that made me see beauty in the other seasons, caused by taking photos when I started blogging. Which is really unfortunate, and I'm not sure the awareness of beauty can offset the blah feelings caused by awareness of the current drabness. I suppose it will depend on how long and how deep this mood dip turns out to be. But I don't feel like talking about that, either, because it's kind of boring for other people and kind of scary for me.

And then I was going to write about how I feel like I don't have any energy and I'm always rushing but getting further behind and how my videos, which are fine when I view them on the computer, somehow turn puny and grainy when I use them in a post, rendering useless a number of posts that I had planned, and I can't get out to walk to take any more photos  - but those things are also complainy, and, worse than that, they are first world problems, and that makes the complainy-ness even more self-indulgent.

And to be even more self-indulgent, like there's some kind of prize or something for being petty, I was going to write about how my haircut person for the past year has been, shall we say, unacceptably inflexible in her cutting methods and not particularly open to suggestion and on top of that lacking in customer service, so I decided not to return because I was dropping quite a bit of money on those appointments with poor results, and then I had to find a new hairstylist and that process strikes terror into my heart, because of my hair type and my pickiness and the fact that my hair is one of the few features I think works in my favour, appearance-wise, but then I asked a co-worker for a recommendation, so, at least for the moment, that problem is taken care of ... but watch this space for possible meltdowns after my appointment because, yes, I am that dependent on good hair days, and that admission does not make me happy, but I can't seem to be happy with bad hair either.

So I'm just going to stick a picture in here and call it a day, and wish you all a merry weekend, with hopefully some love and some good food and some endorphin-producing exercise (or chocolate, or wine) to go with.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. You've done your good deed for the day, or indeed perhaps for the year. If I was Santa, you would definitely be on my "nice" list. Heck, you're on my "nice" list even though I'm just a donkey.

Three guesses which peg person I do NOT feel like this week - and the first two guesses don't count. Photo by Pixabay, a reliable source of Donkey photos and apparently just about any other photos, too. These peg people, or whatever they are called, are so darn cute I'm trying to figure out if I have the artistic skills to reproduce them for next year's craft sale. I have a hard time drawing faces, a fact I know absolutely but have not yet fully accepted when it comes to crafting. What a ridiculously silly thing to be persistently optimistic about, when there are so many other things I could use that optimism for.

Monday 5 December 2016

Monday Better Be Better

It's been a sort of "blah" weekend, with nary a blog inspiration in sight.

I feel at loose ends, kind of blah myself, and need some distraction.

So, doggone it, I'm resorting to again, this time with ... dogs.

 I hope that once the week gets underway, I'll once again feel that gravity is worth fighting.

Friday 2 December 2016

Goodbye Autumn. I'll Miss You. But I've Got My Art To Keep Me Warm.

Like so many places in the northern hemisphere, we've had our first snow of the season. In fact, we had a couple snow events one after another.

Unlike many of those other places, we did not get an unbearable amount of snow. But it was wet and it was heavy and it made the roads very slippery.

In this photo we had just received a dusting, and it was late, so everything is kind of grey and colourless. But it has its own kind of beauty, I think.

But just before I turn my thoughts too far toward snow and ice and cold, there's something I need to do.

I need to have one last look at autumn.

The reds

The yellows

Sunrise on a cool morning

Birds flocking in the trees (those black dots in the bare branches). If you click on the picture it should get bigger and hopefully make it easier to distinguish the birds from the leaves (the leaves being the brown dots).

Different day, more birds flocking ... they're getting ready to go south.

I just like this picture. Repetitious, I know.

Those birds are a noisy bunch. They swoop down on lawns, peck bugs out of the grass, chatter to each other. I'd love to know what they're saying. These pictures show only a small part of the flock that was around that day.

And last of all, just before I wave goodbye to colour until, say probably April or May, I want to show you one more thing.

I already posted this picture here:

When I took this shot, I had something in mind.

From Grade Primary to Grade Six, I attended a rural two-room school. We had one teacher for Grades Primary to Three, and a different teacher for Grades Four to Six. In the "Little Room," as we called it (Gr. P to 3), we had Art class every Friday afternoon. I looked forward to it so much. It was a break from the 3Rs, and even though my artistic talent was confined to my baby fingernail, I loved to mess around with paint and chalk and collage materials.

Here is one of the pieces we did in Art class. It is a sponge painting of "Woods in Autumn" - the teacher showed us how to take a small square of sponge and different colours of paint to create what we felt were masterpieces. With the advantage of a few decades of experience, I can see mine was not nearly so; nevertheless, I hold this and all the other little pages in my art book close to my heart.

I'm guessing I was about seven or eight at this point in my art career. Penmanship was never my strong point either.

I'm saving a post about our teacher for another day. She was a remarkable lady and deserves her own space.

Here's the cover of my art book, by the way. We used a potato stamp (really) to make the pattern of circles.  You can see how I started every line with a load of paint on the stamp, and kept grimly using the same paint to the other side, growing fainter and fainter!

Apparently, my scissors skills were on par with my painting and penmanship!! Just look at that label :)

This isn't the first thing I would grab if I had to evacuate our house (people and pets would be first, of course) but it's irreplaceable, to me, and would be a serious contender for top five.

How about you? Did any of your childhood creations, in or out of school, survive the years to the current day? Did you create something that you can't bear to give up, that says "I did this, and it makes me happy to look at it"? Or did your abilities tend toward activities and games and such?

As I may have mentioned at some point, I was neither coordinated nor competitive, so my achievements did not run to sports or teams ... but if yours did, please tell me about it. Or maybe you were what we called well-rounded, you lucky devil - good at everything! Tell me that, too :)

Monday 28 November 2016

Missing Photos

I am still working my way through articles and TED talks and opinion pieces trying to understand the issues involved in the Brexit vote and the American vote and the situation in our community, and indeed in my country of Canada.

Here's what I've been reading, in case you are interested. (And I understand if you're not. Everyone comes to the table with different experiences, and what I find helpful isn't necessarily of any use to the next person.)

Elizabeth Lesser: Take "the Other" to lunch   (TEDWomen 2010)  Suggestions on talking to those whose views are different from yours, including being genuinely curious rather than trying to debate or persuade.

Did Americans vote out the media, too, in this election? Ideas on why the media got it wrong when they predicted who would win the recent American election.

Taking Aim at the Establishment: Why Some of Europe's Top Leaders Are Walking Dead.  Brexit and the US election may be just the beginning.

Donald Trump Could Happen in Canada. It's Already Begun.  The title is self-explanatory.

     *     *     *     *     *

And in this spot right here, I was going to put a picture of my Grandad and me, from when I was about four years old. That's the same Grandad who played the fiddle and worked in the coal mines.

I went to the spot where we store photo albums, sure that I could lay my hands on the picture I wanted in no time at all.

It was nowhere to be found.

One hour later I was still looking.

Actually I'm still looking.

Here's another picture of me instead.

I bet you were expecting a donkey, right? But I'm feeling kind of sheepish today. Thanks, Pixabay. It's a good thing your photos are better organized than mine are.

Are your photos shipshape? or would I feel right at home at your place?

Friday 25 November 2016

Class Is In

My mother was a junior high school English teacher for most of her working life. She has been retired now for about twenty years, but she still has poems and plays and short stories and novels embedded in her brain, and when we talk she frequently references a literary piece that she is reminded of and that applies to the topic or situation.

When Mom mentions a piece, often I'll know what she is talking about because I went through the school system while she was teaching - at the same school, in fact - so I was learning the curriculum while she was teaching it. But every so often she will quote something from her own school days, or something her father taught her, or something she came across while she was upgrading her teaching license in middle age. 

This is one poem she referenced a couple of years ago that I hadn't heard before, and I like its message so much I am now a fan.

And it's been popping up in my brain lately.

The author, according to Wikipedia, was a "popular poet rather than a literary poet" but notes that "...  in her poems she expresses sentiments of cheer and optimism in plainly written, rhyming verse." I say there's nothing wrong with being a popular poet, if it helps make the world a better place.

(Thank you to this source for providing the poem, as published in The Charlotte Democrat way back in January of 1896.) 

Two Kinds of People
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

There are two kinds of people on earth today,
Two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the good or the bad, for 'tis well understood,
The good are half bad and the bad are half good.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift-flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

Not the rich and the poor, for to count a man's wealth
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life's busy span
Who puts on vain airs is not counted a man.

No! The two kinds of people on earth I mean
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go you will find the world's masses
Are ever divided into these two classes.

And, strangely enough, you will find, too, I wean,
There is only one lifter to twenty who lean.

This one question I ask. Are you easing the load
Of overtaxed lifters who toil down the road?

Or are you a leaner who lets others bear
Your portion of worry and labor and care?

     *     *     *

I think it's useful to consider every now and then whether I am a lifter or a leaner. Just to check, you know. And maybe make some adjustments, as I've been trying to do lately.

Hope you enjoyed this literary experience, brought to you by Procrastinating Donkey and her mom.

See, Mom? I really do listen to you. (Pixabay Photo)

Happy weekend to all.

Monday 21 November 2016

Fiddle and Piano

After I posted the poem about my grandfather, it started me thinking about the other memories I have of him.

He told great stories - yes.  He played baseball when he was younger, and was good at it. He bowled when he got older, and he threw that bowling bowl like any former pitcher would do - fast and straight. We took him bowling with us a few times when our kids were young; he would have been in his mid-eighties, and he put us all to shame.

After he retired from mining, he taught himself to play the fiddle. He had quite a repertoire, and was continually adding to it.

And I was his mostly-unwilling accompanying pianist. I was taking piano lessons, but they were classical pieces, not Scottish fiddle music. Therefore he taught me simple chords in several keys.

Grandad would come to visit, a couple of times a month. With his fiddle.

After supper, he'd warm up by playing a few tunes on our piano. Then he'd open up the fiddle case and rosin his bow, and nod for me to join him. He'd play for anywhere from a half an hour to over an hour.

I was fourteen.

I did not want to be at his beck and call when he came to visit.

I never refused to play, but I was a reluctant participant.

How I regret my begrudging behavior at age fourteen. And my foot-dragging at fifteen. My eye-rolling at sixteen; I especially regret that. And my wooden, duty-warped performances at seventeen.

By the time I was eighteen, I was away to university. I may have chorded for him at holidays, but I can't remember.

Anyway, I'd give a whole lot to hear him play again - and this time, I'd play willingly alongside him. And I'd put my heart into it, and smile at him.

Here's one of the tunes I remember.

For the record, I danced with my Grandad, too, something similar to the video - but none of us were in kilts, and we sure weren't in a castle.

Only once, but I did. And I truly enjoyed it.

Friday 18 November 2016

Friday Cheat Day

My week has been hijacked by the need to produce more craft products for a second sale.

That sounds like I churn out projects by the hundreds, doesn't it?

That would be a misrepresentation of how many things I've made. However, all my available free time has been taken up.

Hence, a LOLCAT post. It's fun to do and requires no thinking.

Most people need no introduction to LOLCATS. For anyone who does, all the following images come from The content is submitted by the site's readers, and includes both pictures and videos; there are various sections, including my favourite, cats. Readers can then caption the photos and vote on best images. For more information, see wikipedia's entry HERE.

This is my escape. This is my chocolate. This is my romance novel. This is my mindless TV. In other words, this requires less than one brain cell to take in, and it makes me forget everything else for awhile.

So, with all the apologies that admission requires of me, and with the additional cringe-inducing confession that I looked through more than 100 pages of images (7 per page) in my search for the best of the best FOR YOU MY READERS, here is Curated Collection #1 (10 photos long) for anyone who is still reading (please note I am poking fun at the word curated, as it seems to be in line to become one of the most overused words of the year. It is a perfectly good word in the right context but the uses I've seen it put to have sometimes made me rest my head on the desk and cry real tears):

Hope you had at least one LOL.

And I have no idea how that dog got in there, but that's okay - he's adorable.

Until Monday, keep your happy face ready to go.

Thank you, icanhascheezburger, for your contribution to this post and to my life. When my kids were teenagers, this website was a place we could laugh together at length. Anything with that kind of power is not to be taken too lightly.


Monday 14 November 2016

Update, and Visitors

The post I linked to on Friday, on Tim Urban's website Wait but Why, called "It's Going to be Okay," has been followed up with another post, HERE.

Tim acknowledges that he wrote his initial post quickly and without taking the time he usually does to let all the nuances of the election results seep into his brain.

If you read the original post, it would be worthwhile reading the follow up. In it, he addresses some of the points that turned out to have needed more thought, but I believe his central point is still valid and is the only way to move forward in any case where there is such division: no matter which way we vote or which "side" we are on, ALL of us need to try to learn why "the other side" voted the way they did. My Friday post was referring not just to the division in the United States, but also in Britain (the Brexit vote) and in my own community.

There has also been a new TED talk released since the American election that I found gave me some clues to how to move forward. That video is HERE, if you care to follow me down the rabbit hole of learning.

And now for a complete change of topic.

Every autumn, I've noticed that there seems to be one day when the leaves drift continuously from the trees. You could watch them drop for hours, if you had the time, and by day's end the trees are virtually bare.

That day happened here last week. We had frost the night before, and the cold snap may have been the trigger for the leaves to fall en masse. As I was filming them, our three deer wandered into the yard. I say "our" because they are the same three who visit us frequently - a doe and two smaller ones who we think may be her twins of last spring.

I hope you enjoy seeing the leaves fall around the deer as they graze, happily oblivious to me - who by the way was standing on the very cold deck in my sock feet.

And look who came to the front yard later in the day - the nearer deer was only a few feet from our front door, while the far one was in the neighbour's yard. They have very little fear, but after all, they did grow up in town. This is their home. They've never known a truly wild place.

Until Friday ... be well, my friends.

Friday 11 November 2016

My Pledge on this Remembrance Day

There have been significant issues in my home community over the past year that have led me to do a lot of thinking about a number of things, including staying engaged between elections. The issues were eerily similar to many of those that arose during the Brexit vote and the American election, albeit on a much smaller scale.

I am not by nature an outspoken person or a fighter. I would rather be quiet than speak up. I would rather go along and get along. I don't like confrontation, I don't like being the object of public criticism, and as much as it pains me to admit it, I've never enjoyed having to think long and hard about topics that can frequently be dry and complex, such as governance and politics and democracy and economics and taxation and leadership and so much more.

But I've been trying to change. 

And Remembrance Day seems like a fitting time to set out my revised personal code of conduct that includes both the actions I find easy and the actions that are harder for me.

Today I am promising myself ...

... to be kind to others, because we all have troubles

... to be open to what others are really saying, underneath what they appear to be saying

... to be brave enough to stand up and fight for what I believe in, if/when it becomes necessary

... to be engaged in relevant issues every day, not just when I am marking an X on a ballot

The freedom to do - or not do - these things is part of what our armed forces fought for.

I can live these things every day as a way to thank them, to honour their service, and to help protect that hard-won freedom.

If I believe in goodness and equality and fairness and freedom for all people, I must live them every day.

Not everyone can make big sweeping changes in the world.

But every single one of us can improve our small sphere within it.

For a thoughtful, concise, and encouraging essay on the results of the American election, titled "It's Going to be Okay," written by Tim Urban of the blog Wait But Why, click HERE.

Courtesy of Pixabay