Back on Track

We have a beautiful spring-like afternoon here in Saskatchewan. Our temperatures have risen above 0 C and the cats are loitering outside in the sunshine. A sweet promise of days to come.

After December’s side-track, I’m again working at my ATCUSS* goal. This week I’ve been doing more cleaning/tossing out in my sewing room, as well as some minor mending. (*ATCUSS: A Total Clean-Up of my Sewing Space.)
We live in a mobile home and there’s just not much room to store things — never mind half-finished things. Ungrateful soul that I am, some days I look around and think:
Stuff, stuff, stuff!
Where to save it?
Where to store it?
No, stuff it. Stuff it!
Blessing from Heaven:
those green garbage bags!

Wonderland

The Ragtag Daily Prompt  this morning is WONDERLAND.

I encountered this word several different ways during my childhood, the first being through the well known song, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” I’m happy to say the a warming trend has kicked in here on the prairies and the temp has risen ten degrees. It’s now -21 C here, with almost no wind —and next week is supposed to be warmer yet. Wonderful! Snow tends to lose its wonderland sense after the middle of January.

I also recall an old 45rpm record my cousin’s wife owned. The song, instrumental only with a trumpet lead, was called “Wonderland by Night.”  (Blessings on the ever helpful Wiki, who tells me this tune was recorded in July 1959.) As a girl I often wondered whether there was a real place called Wonderland and where it was. I assumed this would be somewhere in California, where all wonderlands are located, right?

Or was the song a takeoff from the popular children’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? The writer Lewis Carroll—in reality Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—delighted not only the real Alice, but millions of other girls and boys since, with his delightful tale of adventure.

I was curious to know if Dodgson invented the place name, but it seems he only made use of the word. His book was published in 1865, whereas the word wonderland made its debut in English in 1790, according to Merriam-Webster, who defines it as a place that is filled with things that are beautiful, impressive, or surprising.

And that ends my knowledge of the subject. You’re welcome to pop over to the RAGTAG Community and read what other bloggers have written. Better yet do a post yourself and share your impressions of WONDERLAND.

Replacing Clichés

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is NOTHING.

When it comes to clichés, I feel there’s nothing that can successfully replace some of these one-bite-wisdom quotes, like “Least said, soonest mended.” Yet editors want us to get rid of them, which is what led to the following writing exercise.

At a writing conference, each person was to think of an old gem of wisdom and write it on a sheet of paper. These were handed around and others in the group were to suggest more modern replacements for the given clichés. Yesterday as I was working through my stash of papers, I found one of these sheets. The saying:

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Bird.shutterbug75
Image: Shutterbug at Pixabay

In other words, you may get lucky and find that second bird in the bush. Or, while you’re chasing that one, this one you have may escape and you’ll have none.

Like the gambler who’s just won fifty dollars. If he puts it in his pocket, he has $50. If he bets it again, he may end up with $100, or he may lose it all.

This can get into even higher stakes, as when employees go on strike for higher wages. They may win the dollar per hour increase — or the boss may close down the shop, which will put them all out of work. Or they may get their pay increase after weeks on strike, but lose three or four thousand dollars in wages in the interim. When put to a vote, they may rather opt for “the bird in hand” and be content with their current wage.

But it’s a challenge to put this in a nutshell like the original saying did, and still get the meaning across. (Oh, dear! “Put it in a nutshell” is probably another cliché to avoid.)

Here are some responses people gave:
— What we actually have is better than what we wish we had.
— She went with a sure thing.
— She made the safe choice instead of stretching for more.

And this practical example:
She didn’t love Harry, but she figured he was better than nothing.
(Poor Harry!)

Here are my suggestions:
—Best grab the first bus. The next one might be full.
Better one eye seeing something than two eyes seeing nothing.

How would you replace this old cliché? Put your thinking cap on.

Forsaken & Lost

weary pup
wanders down a strange road
listening for hope

Dog abandoned.pezibear
pezibear — Pixabay

I once saw a dog run at top speed and totally exhaust itself trying to catch up to the car that dumped it on a country road. Thankfully, dogs have become valuable and dog owners have become more responsible through the years, so this scenario doesn’t happen much anymore. Hopefully the day will come when no pets will be abandoned in a hostile environment to survive however they can.

NOTE:

If you enjoy haiku, why not take a minute to check out
one of the online journals like The Heron’s Nest,
where you will find many fine and inspiring verses.

My Cave of Misc

The Daily Addictions word for today is CAVE.

Cave.DmitryAbramov.png
Dmitry Abramov — Pixabay

This brings to mind the story of Ali Baba and the Forty thieves. The brave young Ali Baba dared to speak the password, “Open Sesame,” and explore the cave. What he discovered was a stash of hidden treasure.

I have two different caves, one being the spare bedroom that I’ve appropriated for my sewing space. I’ve been working at cleaning that up. The other is right here at my desk. But rather than treasure, you’ll find half a lifetime of saved scribbles, loose and in cheap coil notebooks, that need to be gone through.

Cluttered desk
Ali Baba would have given up in despair.

This reminds me of an account I once read, the confession of a none-too-neat homemaker. She finally saw the light one day when she arrived home from some outing to find a police car in her driveway. An officer met her outside her door to explain the situation:
“One of your neighbors saw a stranger enter your house through a window and called us. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you’d best be prepared: he’s completely trashed the place. I know it’ll be hard, but you’ll have to go in and have a look around, tell us if you notice anything that’s missing.”

It was a lot harder for her, after having a look around, to swallow her pride and tell the officer, “Doesn’t look like anything’s missing. Everything is just as I left it.”

Last winter I made a start at cleaning up all my scribbles and made a small dint; now I’ll  renew my efforts while it’s -35 and I don’t want to set foot out of the house. So be prepared for a sudden gush of haiku, other micro-verses, and tidbit tales here on my blog.

Ali found a heap of treasure
hidden in a deep dark den;
in my cave, a heap of scribbles
a life of plying pencil and pen.

Not Moving Much

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is STATIONARY and I found the perfect photo on Pixabay to illustrate this concept. Where do you think these fellows were going when they were turned to stone?

Statues.Meatle
Meatle  —  Pixabay

As the prompter mentions, STATIONARY is one of those words easily misspelled. Many a time I’ve see writers mistakenly use this spelling when they really meant the STATIONERY you write on, or vice versa.

Not quite as glaring, or open to misinterpretation as when someone writes “The hunter bagged a dear,” when they mean, “The hunter bagged a deer.” English is like that — you gotta watch out.

This morning I’ll start with a cup of hot coffee as I check the weather. Likely the school children will remain stationary in their beds for an extra hour this morning, too, as school is often called off when the temp goes below -40̊. And Environment Canada tells me that it’s -30̊ C with a wind chill factor of -43̊ – for US readers that’s -21̊ F with a wind chill factor cooling us down to -45̊ if we happen to venture outdoors. Here on the prairies we call that COLD.

We don’t have an attached, heated garage, so at this temp our automatic garage door won’t work — which means we tend to stay home whenever possible. If we must go somewhere Bob has to disconnect it from the mechanism and operate it manually with the cord and muscles to lift the door.

The temp is supposed to hit -27 C̊or -17 F̊ by this afternoon, a negligible difference. If we didn’t have warm houses on days like this we may well be as frozen as the fellows in the photo – but picture about 20 cm/ 8″ of snow everywhere to give the true impression.

Wishing you all a lovely, sunny day and a good cup of coffee.