One thing I’m grateful for…

This morning, after replying to the Ragtag Daily Prompt, I decided to look around and check out other writing prompts on the Internet. Which brings me to one of my peeves and its flip side, something I’m very grateful for.

The Discovery prompt for today was GRATEFUL. There are so many things for which I should be grateful, and here I am griping about one small oil slick in the sea of life.

WordPress may not thank me for this, but I dislike ads, especially those flashing ones, and even worse are the pop up ads that totally clutter up a site. Conversely, I’m so grateful for blogs with no ads.

Back to my wanderings this morning. Writing Generators, the one site I checked out had a rally good prompt generator in the center of their blog screen. You hit a button and two to four words surface. For example, I was given the words ANGUISHED and FLOWERS. Alas, there were so many pop-out ads and regular ads in the sidebars; thankfully you can click them and they’ll disappear.

Another site,  ArtJournalist, had a promising list of words a person could use for art &/or writing prompts — interspersed with various ads. At the site Become a Writer Today, you’ll find a download-able list of short-sentence prompts — and read ads tailor-made for your area. At least mine flashed ads for well known Saskatchewan auctioneers. Sigh…

I learned an interesting fact reading an online article yesterday: the person who invented the pop-up ad wishes they hadn’t. I do, too!

Perhaps you also saw this list of things the inventors thereof regret, like the atom bomb and the AK47. And coffee pods, of all things! Although that inventor seemed rather ambivalent; it’s not that he really regretted developing his idea, but wasn’t impressed in the long run with the instant-ness of coffee pods. (Sad all the way to the bank?)

Now that April is over I suppose the Discovery prompts will cease, but when I googled “one word writing prompts” dozens of pages of lists showed up. No lack, fellow writers! But I’ve wandered enough for one day.

Words. Narciso1
Image by narciso1 –Pixabay

Online Overwhelm

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is ONLINE

It should be easy enough to use this word, as I wouldn’t be responding to this prompt and you wouldn’t be reading it if we weren’t online. And when I look around ONLINE at all the writing prompts being offered to occupy us these days, I realize I could be online all day. I wrote about a few the other day, but one I didn’t write about was Reedsy’s Creative Writing Contest. Click HERE if you want to see their 744 prompts to date.

They also, among various other sites, are suggesting books we can read while we have nothing else to do. Click Here for REEDSY’s list. Merriam Webster has also published a list of books to read while you’re hunkered down.

I’d gladly add some of these to my TO-READ list. Carla Carlisle’s memoir, Journey to the Son sounds intriguing! I’ll have to add it to my 500+ list of books I hope to read this coming decade. 😉

These book review lists always bring to mind Frank Zappa’s famous words, “So many books; so little time.”

In the midst of all these suggestions that I’m sitting at home with not much to do, I’ve kind of crashed into a “NO TIME” zone. I have SO MANY things I want to read, write, sew, clean, and generally DO, but feel like I don’t have the time — won’t ever have enough time — to do any of it.

Past experience teaches me that this is a chronic feeling, kind of like a migraine, and it will pass. I’ll just haul out my famous little quote and wait it out. (It does help to write about it. 😉 )

Candle quote
S Hermann & F. Richter –Pixabay

How about you? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by these ONLINE thoughts that you must be loafing around and need more things to do? And otherwise, how are you all weathering stay-at-home storm?

 

Intriguing Data

I’ve been digging into the family tree roots again, and discovered some interesting facts and figures for my forebear’s family. My husband also got his DNA results back today and is tripping through all the family info — and mis-info — on his side. Names garbled on old records, etc. Dad was Walter Frank and wouldn’t appreciate being listed as Wally T!

Facts and dates, spellings and census records all make for interesting reading and quite a few chuckles as you try to sort out how great-great grandmother had her first child at age seven, or another had her last baby at age 56.

There were some interesting age spreads back then, as there are today. My gr-gr-grandma Ruth’s sister, Rebecca, was 24 when she married John Pepper, a widower aged 44. It really interested me to learn that the couple lived in Fullarton, Ontario, the small town we lived in for some years, thirty-odd years ago.

One of their brothers was Jonathan Burnham Dobson. Confusingly, I’ve discovered two men by that name, one lived mostly in New Brunswick and one in Ontario. That may take some sorting out, if I really want to go there.

I’ve been following the life story and descendants of the Ontario fellow. I’ve learned that his wife was Ann Blatchford (Ontario marriage record — can’t argue with that.) Ann was — if you believe half a dozen Family Tree records the daughter of Thomas Tapson and Jane Blatchford. Or did someone cross a wire there?

Depending on whose record you believe, Ann was born in Lydford, Lifton, or Bridestowe, all in Devon. According to all accounts she was married in 1842 to William Blatchford.

One record says they had 7 children, born from 1845 to 1857. And William died in 1852.
One record says they had five children from 1845-1853, and William died in 1854.
One record shows they had three children widely spaced and William died in 1858.

Her children were for sure William, Elizabeth Ann, George, and Mary Jane, give or take a Richard, Louisa, Joanna, or Thomas Charles.

All agree that Ann (Tapson) Blatchford married Jonathan Dobson in 1859. (Thank you DVS!) Born in 1831, he would have been 27 and she 38. Except that the Ontario Marriage registration gives her age as 28. I’d like to know how lost those ten years. 🙂

I’ve found record of their one daughter, Margaret. Some family trees list her as Margaret Marguerite. I’ve spent this afternoon discovering her spouse, their children and spouses. Don’t ask me why? 😉

One researcher covered all the bases in the info they posted:
Ann was born at Lydford, Devon, England, married William Blatchford in 1842. The couple had six children before William died in 1852. At some point they immigrated to Ontario.
Children’s names and birth years:
William (44), Elizabeth (47), George (49), Thomas C (51), Mary Jane (53) and Richard (63)
Oh, wait — don’t forget Joanna, supposedly born in 57.

Then Ann married Jonathan Dobson and their children were:
Louisa (33), Henry (54), Sara (56), Margaret Marguerite (59) Ann (59) and Emma (63), when Ann would have been 43. Possible — but talk about prolific! It will take some serious DNA research to sort out all those offspring.

While I’m speaking of things being rather a mess, have you all come to terms with the newest update in Word Press, where we have to go through the Stats to get to the WordPress Administration instead of having the left-hand drop-down menu like we used to? I find it a pain.

Fire in the Wind

Hello everyone,

I read an interesting tidbit the other day from one of these life-coach-advisor types: If you have goals in life you really want to accomplish, or if you feel like your time management ability leaves something to be desired, leave the internet alone for the first three hours of each day. This includes cell phone calls and messages.

He claims most people who’ve achieved success in life don’t start their days online. They rather spend those first prime hours reading, meditating, focusing on goals and planning their day. Conversely, people who start their day hopping and skipping around the internet, reading e-mails, and leaving short comments or messages, tend to carry on through the day with the same lack of focus and end up not getting much done and feeling very unsatisfied.

I’ve decided to follow his advice and see how it works, as I’ve been very frustrated at my tendency to be distracted, or lack of self-discipline. So I tried it this morning: I left the computer alone and read some devotional thoughts about Easter — then focused on some needed housework.

The upside: I feel like I accomplished something today. 🙂
The downside: Morning is my prime writing time. If I got busy with other things, I don’t get to my computer until the evening. (Mind you, it dosn’t help that I have a jigsaw puzzle on the go right now. 😉 )

Now, on to the Fire Wind:

Today was warm and the wind gusting high at times — and it’s been extremely dry here this spring. I was outside for a few minutes around 5 pm and thought: a bad day for a fire. As I’ve mentioned, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to burn our “trash pile” of dead and/or pruned branches. I had a little fire last Thursday, but then the municipal Fire Ban went into effect and we can’t burn ANYTHING now. Small wonder, though: last week Saturday our volunteer firemen were called out to three big fires in this area, and we heard there was a bad one near Saskatoon last Saturday.

I came in from outside and puttered around a few minutes, then opened the west side window, since it was so warm — and I got a strong whiff of smoke. Looked out and saw smoke billowing into the sky;  it seemed to come from the farm across the field about a mile south of us. We decided to drive out and see what was happening — after all, the wind was blowing the smoke in our direction and that does make one nervous!  When we reached the road our farmer-neighbour went by in his tractor and headed across the field toward the fire.

We heard later that our son-in-law, on his way home from work, spotted the flames and called in the alarm, then went back to fight the fire. Volunteer firemen arrived and then the firetrucks, and we saw our neighbour going back and forth across the field next to that farm, plowing a fireguard to keep the fire from spreading this way in the high wind.

It burned for at least an hour and now, several hours later, there are still flashing lights at that farm. The fire was burning in their trees, so I imagine some firemen are watching to see it doesn’t flare up again.

I haven’t posted anything in honor of National Poetry Month for a few days, but thinking of fire makes me think of Aussie poet Frank Prem’s book DEVIL IN THE WIND, about the devastating bush fires he witnessed in 2009. This promises to be a fascinating account in poem form! It’s for sale now on Amazon. Here’s the dazzling cover — and the link (Amazon .com)

Devil In The Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (Poetry Anthology Book 2) by [Prem, Frank]

 

Writer’s Clock

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“Oh, what a beautiful morning!
Oh, what a beautiful day!
The suns is so cheerily shining
and snowbanks are melting away.”

(With apologies to the original songwriter.
And thanks to Pixabay for the ClipArt Vector)

A week ago spring came back to our land and has settled in so pleasantly. Today I even saw half a dozen Canada geese overhead. Mind you, they were going south, and might have been some who wintered over down by the dam. But still, it’s the principle…

It’s been a few days since I last posted — not that I suffer from WRITER’S BLOCK so much as WRITER’S CLOCK. That is, not enough time to sit down and write everything I’d like to, especially now that the days are so spring-like and the house needs a good cleaning.

Our cats definitely have spring fever and want to be out…in…out…in…out… all day long. Our lawn is slowly appearing and the gravel road by our property is nice and firm for walking on now, though the driveway is still slushy and spongy.

Wandering the internet for awhile this afternoon, I discovered another online haiku journal, the Wales Haiku Journal. Interesting! In fact I even dared submit a few of my newest verses. Perhaps with a nod to my gr-gr-gr-grandmother Jones from north Wales. Having a Jones from Wales, John Smith from London, and John Turner, an Orangeman from Ireland, among my forebears, I feel very standard-issue. 🙂

This past week I’ve been working quite a bit on my book of haiku, have transferred it to Kindle Create and set it up. I’m inserting some pictures now. Soon, soon…!

Monday night I hit the silliest glitch: I could not insert the copyright symbol. I tried every which way and listened to a couple of instruction videos supposedly explaining in detail how to create a Kindle e-book. Alas! They both slid through the front matter in a few sentences.

I enjoyed watching the one young fellow wave his hands around, though — in real life he must play a piccolo. Several times he said, “I’m sure you’ve all worked with this type of program before and know all this,” and I wanted to yell, “Would I be listening to you if I had?”

Note to wannabe self-publishers: If you’re doing your book on Kindle Create — and it really does work well — it’s best to have the Title page, Copyright info, Dedication page, and Preface or Foreword, all written up the way you want them, as well as the actual book pages, before saving your e-book document as a pdf that you will transfer to Kindle Create.

At any rate, I discovered that it’s really very simple to add that little © — once you know how. 😉 Actually, so many things in this old world are so simple once you know how!

This includes tossing out. As part of my spring cleaning urge, yesterday I opened a cupboard that I haven’t looked in seriously for a long time — and bravely threw out all those 5″ floppies and 3.5″ hard disks I squirreled away about 7 or 8 years back, when I got my new computer. You know the rationale: “A person never knows when this new flash-drive system might break down and we’ll need to go back to these…” NOT!

I hope you are all enjoying lovely days, too, dear readers.

Paper Airplanes & Haiku

Good morning everyone!

I’m up before the sun today, but it’s slowly getting out of bed. Our weather’s been up and down for most of the winter, but the forecasters are telling us now that we’re in for a spell of -20 to -30 C, such as you’d expect in February here on the prairies.

A great time to stay home, but our comfy conveyances are so handy nowadays. Not like in Grandma’s day when the rare trip to town meant piling into the old sled (sleigh?) with warm stones at their feet and bouncing across frozen fields. These cold snaps were when moms and grandmas circa 1900 darned the socks, patched clothes, wrote letters, and got their quilting done.

But here I am this morning, hopping around the globe via the internet to pop in on poets in Australia, Mexico, Britain and the US. I’ve read Frank Prem’s new book of poetry and his request for pre-pub readers and reviewers, then shared a fishy limerick with Kristian.

Now I’ve finished an interesting article on Objective Hokku written by David from I-assume-the-US. He explains that Objective Hokku is simply a reflection, via the poet, of what it there, making no comparisons, offering no personal opinion or interpretation. I’ll take a stab at it:

Winter morning.
The cat curled up
In the office chair.

You get the immediate picture and some sense of coziness. This verse doesn’t tell you that the office chair is mine and I should be in it, that because I’m too soft to dump the cat out, I’m sitting beside it on a hard-seated folding chair typing this. 🙂

The poem below is haiku, because it definitely leads you to a conclusion about my reading habits. 😉 Actually it’s more of a senryu, a haiku which makes a wry comment on human nature.

all the books
I hope to someday read
paper airplanes

And this even more so:

high pressure system
distant cousins arrive
family picnic drenched

Even though I’m not into the deeper significance of haiku and hokku, I do enjoy these “snapshot” verses. I hope you do, too.