May Journal Page

Hello everyone! Yes, I’m still alive and well, though I haven’t been near the computer very much lately.

Spring – or summer? – is finally here. After our last snow the thermometer rose steadily and we’ve needed our air conditioner. Smoke from northern fires has made the air hazy for a week. The birds have returned; the trees around us are noisy from morn til night. No rain for weeks, just a bit last night, so I’ve been filling water basins on the lawn for the birds again. Chokecherries and lilacs are blooming and I should be doing something about my planters and flowerbeds.

My courage has been low these last two weeks. So much to do — it feels like I’ve five mountains that should be moved right shortly and have only a trowel to work with. Where to start? (Is this a sign of OCD?) Sewing projects waiting, flowerbeds to work, writing & editing needing done plus a heap of housework. Then I’d like to paint & draw again.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is INDEFATIGABLE –and I’m not. 🙂

I can’t blame it on my health woes because the medication I’m taking has done wonders in bringing my blood counts back toward normal. Something to be very thankful for. I’d like to be upbeat but think of all the work that need doing and wish I had more energy to tackle it. Sometimes I do have good days; it’s not all bad.

At least I’m getting lots of fresh air these days, having become the peace-keeping force in our yard. A stray cat has wandered in – or someone has left it off. Anyone who thinks they can drop an unwanted cat off at some town or farm and it will cheerfully blend in with the locals needs a sharp lesson on cat behavior. Predators grab the weaker ones. The stronger ones have to fight for every bit of food and shelter they find.

Our Angus likes being outside, and he’s very territorial. He won’t tolerate this stray in our yard – and the stray won’t run from a fight. He isn’t going to let Angus boss him around. When the two meet, it’s claws and flying fur. So I’ve been keeping an eye on Angus when he’s outside and bringing him in the house should the other appear. Or I swoop in at the first sign of aggression, sometimes having to separate the two combatants. Not an easy task!

I have accomplished a few goals. Over the past two months I did get a new dress pattern worked out, a prototype for every day and then a Sunday dress made. I dug up part of my flowerbed yesterday. Saturday I did some decluttering.

I’m a hoarder – may as well confess. In the course of looking for our finch feeder I found a box containing old greeting cards and other paper keepsakes. Get-well cards from 1980 when I had my cancer surgery; cards from my 40th birthday party, from friends back in Ontario. My grands can deal with them someday. 🙂

Are you sentimental? Do you have old cards and diaries like these squirreled away? Or are you a minimalist?

Delights & Northern Lights

Image by Jacques Barbary — Pixabay

Here’s a list of fifteen more delights in my little world:

– the rosy glow of dawn

– little dust devils whirling and twirling across an open field, or twisting through the longer grasses on a roadside

– watching storm clouds churning (One of the most fantastic sights ever was a huge super-cell in the sky west of us!)

– seeing much-needed steady rain soaking into a thirsty land

– sundogs and rainbows

– northern lights *

– watching a blizzard (from indoors, where I’m snug and warm )

– a twenty acre field covered with snow geese

– watching hundreds of sandhill cranes foraging in the field across the road

– seeing a flock of swans landing in the slough just NW of our acreage

– fields of canola in bloom, a gold carpet stretching out a mile or more

– the delightful scent of wild roses

– red-to-burgundy autumn leaves on our Amur maple

– the autumn brilliance of a hardwood forest

– poems about all these things

* An amazing sight:
Several months ago I woke at 5 am – like, wide awake. (Must have been a nudge from God. He had something he wanted to show me. 🙂 ) I got up and decided to look out the window right beside my bed, which faces to the north. So I opened the curtains a bit – and saw some amazing northern lights rippling across the sky.

I’d watched for a few minutes when my husband woke up. “What are you seeing out there?”

“Northern lights. Really colourful ones, wavering across the sky.”

So he got up to watch. For awhile they continued streaming, then something incredible started to happen: all across the northern sky, wide puffs of light started shooting up from the earth into the heavens. Like half a dozen airport beacons in different spots, sweeping across the sky, yet each sending their beams straight upward. Here a puff would shoot up and disappear, then more to the west another puff shot up, then maybe in the middle of our view. Rapidly, steadily, the balls of light rose and disappeared into the stars. We watched for about ten minutes as these rising clouds of light continued bursting upwards.

Words can hardly describe the magnificence! I doubt I’ll ever see a phenomenon like that again. If it hadn’t been so early, I’d have sent a text around telling other ladies to get up and see this. Later, texting about it on our church sisters’ chat, I learned that only one other sister in our congregation was up to see it. The others were all disappointed to miss the sight.

New Words And Old

Writing Difficult Topics

My internet ramble started with reading an article on the Writer’s Digest site: Writing Cozies With An Edge. Harper Kincaid writes about incorporating unusual or difficult subjects into a cozy.

One of her main characters is “a neurodivergent nun.” Eh? Where’s my dictionary? I couldn’t find it in a quick check with M-W, but they define neurodiversity as individual differences in brain functioning regarded as normal variations within the human population. Variations like ADHD, OCD, or Autism.

Her nun has some level of ADHD and her cousin in this story is an undiagnosed autistic. Agatha Christie had this one, too: remember Hercule Poirot’s personal fussiness and how he was always straightening things? He was definitely OCD.

Kincaid mentions other difficulties the MC may deal with: loss of vision or mobility, ethnicity or foreign origins – Hercule Poirot again – or age, like Miss Marple. Her thought is to work the topic in lightly and deal with it compassionately. “No subject is taboo if you have empathy.”

The Ragtag Daily Prompt yesterday was FRACTAL, another word that sent me to the dictionary. I did best with M-W’s definition for juniors. Fractal is an irregular shape that looks the same at any scale on which it is examined.

Fractal Image: Gordon Johnson — Pixabay

Today’s RDP word is CONSEQUENCES. An old and familiar word packed with deep meaning. Aren’t most stories built on people meeting the consequences of their actions, for better or for worse?

We’re inclined to expect wrong actions will receive just consequences, even if we hope to dodge them ourselves. (We always have noble reasons, right?) Scammers try hard to escape detection, but I suspect if someone would drain their bank account, they’d soon cry foul. Shoplifters would likely be furious if someone came to their house and raided their purse or carted off their precious things.

Cozy mystery readers expect the baddie to lose, they want challenging clues so they can help figure out whodunit, and they prefer low levels of angst. Murder and mayhem, but no horror or gory details. They like a neat wrap-up: the bad guy gets caught; the good guy wins the girl; the female sleuth impresses the handsome detective. So much the better if he falls for her even if she’s bipolar, an amputee, over the hill, or damaged by a trauma in her past?

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that the male main character – the love interest – is always smart, incredibly handsome, and physically fit. Hunks only need apply for this role. 😉

National Poetry Month

I’ve just realized National Poetry Month starts April 1st.
Here’s the link from the League of Canadian Poets.
I imagine a lot of bloggers — and very good poets — will be taking up this challenge in April. Will you be one of them?

Hmm… Could I actually write a poem every day for a month? For sure I could string together words – even verses that rhyme – but how many would be very memorable, would resonate with readers? How about…

The Flirt

Roses are pink;
violets are mauve.
He may give you a wink
but his eye’s apt to rove.

Or maybe I’d have this discussion with my muse…

into my coffee
searching its creamy swirl
for poetic ideas.
Calling up my muse
ordering her
to dream up a verse.

“I’m busy,” she says.
"Tied up with your last
WIP. Remember,
you haven't finished it yet.
Call me later."

"Well, then – shall I
turn to AI?
You’ll be redundant, Muse.
Out of a job
if you don’t get cracking!"

“Fire me
and you’ll be brain dead
next year,” she replies

Sizzles & Fizzles

Don’t you just hate it when things explode in the microwave? I was heating up a few chunks of pork in BBQ sauce for dinner, and left it a bit too long. I heard this “POP” and my meat mix sprayed all over the mike. Quite a clean up operation!

When I got up this morning at 7:30 the temp was -20 C and the trees decorated with hoarfrost. Lovely start to the day! The sun came up and soon the frost was dusting down. I took a short walk down our lane to get a bit of fresh air. While the temp hasn’t got up to -10, the warmth of the sun has been melting some of our snow and ice. I see the forecast is for warmer days to come, so spring will soon be here.

Sadly, I haven’t been feeling the best this week. Had a sore throat two weeks ago and finally got antibiotics that cleared it up. I had a few really good days this past weekend, but Wed morning I woke up with a sore throat and sinus problem again, and it’s persisting. I’ve decided to see a doctor today. Last time around I suffered for about ten days before going for help; this time I’m not going to wait. Just don’t have the immunity to get over it without help.

My energy has fizzled again, which is why I haven’t been doing much blogging. Some days I even feel like throwing out all my house plants because I just haven’t the energy to water them! “To everything there is a season,” and this seems to be my season to snail along until my immunity builds up and energy levels come back. So if I’m not posting or visiting my fellow bloggers as often, you know why. I do appreciate all of you who read my scribblings and follow this blog, and wish you all a great weekend.

Haiku in Chocolate

I’ve just checked out The Haiku Foundation’s Troutswirl and read the submissions for the monthly KUKAI. The theme is chocolate and I can see it’s not the easiest subject on which to write a short, proper haiku. Still, an amazing variety have been submitted and readers are invited to vote on which they like best. Some are humorous, some romantic, some are almost risqué. Others deal on the child-labour aspect of harvesting cocoa pods. If you’re interested, you can READ THEM HERE.

Inspired by the various thoughts, here’s a hodge-podge of verses I’ve written on the theme. I trust some will give you a smile.

chocolate bunny
the hesitant child
nibbles the tail
mom’s chocolate chippers
still warm on memory lane
abiding comfort
children’s party
a stack of Oreo wafers
all licked clean
shopping Plus Sizes
the chocolates I’ve eaten lately
come along
eying the curves
of her chocolate cake
his heart races
her longing gaze
wanders once more to his
plate of brownies

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: RISQUÉ