A Carful of Puzzles

A Bit of Local News

This week, just for fun, I planned a Puzzle Exchange evening at Silverwood Villa retirement home. Spring isn’t the best time for jigsaw puzzle exchanges, with folks starting to think of yard work, but the event gave the residents a chance to enjoy some evening company. I had a number of jigsaw puzzles I wanted to give away and I knew quite a few have been collecting at the Villa, done and put in storage. So I planned the event for yesterday evening and invited everyone who wanted to come.

The invitation was to bring puzzles to exchange, to give away, or just come and get free puzzles. I took a few of my African violets to give away as well. (They seem to multiply so rapidly at my house.) To top off the affair nicely, my books finally came.

On Jan 26th I ordered the first twelve print copies of Silver Morning Song, from Amazon. They were shipped — and never arrived. After a month of eager waiting, I wrote to the company and they said, “Sorry about that. We’ll send replacements.” So they shipped twelve more — and THEY never arrived.

I was getting rather discouraged and beginning to wonder if I should just abandon the project. I notified the company again and they were very good about it. They refunded my purchase price and the agent also instructed me to order again, requesting the fastest shipping, and he’d waive the extra charge for that. So I ordered forty books at the beginning of April — and was beginning to wonder why these weren’t coming, either.

I had an answer on Monday: they hadn’t been shipped yet. On Monday Amazon notified me that they’d shipped my books from Baltimore, using the DHL shipping company. They arrived in four days — pretty fast! So now I can tell the world, my book is AVAILABLE in a print edition and I have copies to sell. 🙂

Or you can order a copy of Silver Morning Song from Amazon.com, and e-books from either Amazon or Kobo.

Back to the puzzle exchange. I brought my puzzles; some other folks brought theirs; one Villa resident’s family contributed forty-some that he’s already done. We had the dining room whole table full, stacked several deep! But there wasn’t a large turnout; three local couples, three ladies, three Villa residents, plus ourselves.

Several people took home a few puzzles each and about half a dozen stayed at the Villa. As to the rest, we have about six boxes and a couple of bags in our car at the moment. I have an appointment in the city today, so will drop these off at Value Village. In addition I sold six books and five of my African violets found new homes.

A good visit was had by all who attended. 🙂

Personal Note:

For the past while I’ve been thinking of giving up blogging — maybe even giving up writing — for a time. Lately I’ve been drowning in a sea of recriminations. It’s taken me awhile to even identify what I’m feeling, but this is how I can best explain it. And I realize it’s nothing new; maybe it just goes with the terrain of OCD my mind is so often bouncing over?

Feels like being crushed under an mountainous “To-Do” list — or rather a mountain of “This should have been done last week, last month, last year, and wasn’t. How undisciplined! Never accomplish anything!” I’m supposed to be editing my book for teens, but stalled after Chapter 4. For sure I have no time to waste writing, so much other stuff must be finished first. Yet that doesn’t happen, either, when you’re feeling suffocated. Do any of you other readers have spells like that?

Anyway, I decided to just do simple blog posts until this dark cloud passes. I trust it will in time. First thing this morning I was contemplating all my failings in general when the line of a song came to me. “Jesus paid it all…” ALL can be forgiven. Precious thought! Like a lifesaver to a drowning person. I grabbed that thought and want to hang onto it. 🙂

Spring Morning

Kisses of Spring

Meadowlark singing on fence post,
ducks dabbling on the slough,
the cry of a pair of Canada geese
overhead, as they hurry on through.

The woods beside us now waken
with sound at first morning light;
I spy a flock of some kind of birds
silent and northward their flight

These are the kisses of springtime,
the sights and the sounds that delight.
Oh no! While I’m here rhapsodizing
our landscape is fast turning white.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Good Morning from our house. The dawn was rather misty when I first looked out and I saw this flock of birds winging over the field beside us. Small ducks, maybe? I let the cats out and sat back to enjoy the coming of spring.

A pair of Canada geese have been around for a week; the ducks and meadowlark we saw Sunday on the way to church. I could hear small birds twittering in the woods yesterday as I went out for a walk. Sunny days and south winds have melted most of the snow in our yard. Last week the driveway was muddy, but by yesterday it had almost completely dried off. Oh, the joys of warmer weather!

As I enjoyed my morning coffee this morning a poem came to me, so I fired up the computer and started to write. I hadn’t quite decided how to finish off, though — until I looked outside again and saw the air full of snow. Our poor cats huddled on the back step, turning white along with everything else.

A sad surprise indeed. Poor little birds! And no wonder that flock was winging it in such a hurry, probably looking for a place to shelter. Oh, well. I shall carry on with my sewing project, a dress for myself, and forget about taking a long walk in the sunshine.

Low Pressure System

Sunday morning
low pressure system
only one eye open

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As least that’s how it felt this morning. 🙂

Except that our cat Pookie is part Energizer Bunny and part rooster, eager to be up and at’em as soon as the dawn expands into morning light — about 5:30 am these days. He never bothers dear hubby; I’m the one who should get up and give him his morning treat, then let him outside for a romp. If we’ve forgotten to shut the bedroom door he jumps on the bed and starts prodding me until I get up and humor him — or shut him out of the room.

I’m light-sensitive, too, and can’t sleep when it’s full daylight. Early morning’s a good time for blogging, so I’ll post this verse that dawned on me first thing this morning.

By now I have hundreds of haiku verses and plan to start posting again on Tree Top Haiku. I’m doing some setting up and have scheduled the first ones to appear May 1st.

Writing Dialogue Master Class

This afternoon I received an e-mail from writer and editor Joan Dempsey, asking if I’d help spread the word about the Writing Great Dialogue Master Class she’s offering. If you’re interested in joining and taking advantage of feedback from an editor to help you give your dialogue more zing, then do check out her link here: Learn More

Bear in mind that this is time sensitive. Enrollment in this class closes tonight at 10pm EDT— that’s four hours from now. I think the price is fair for what you’ll be getting. I’ve been taking a shorter “teaser” class this month and appreciate her feedback.

Theories Can Crash and Burn

What Is Truth?

The two neatly dressed young men stood on my doorstep, ready to discuss various problems of society and offer their solution. They were well versed on issues of eternal consequence as well. Had I been open to instruction they’d have no doubt produced their Book of Mormon, ready to enlighten me.

Over the years I’ve observed a few things about human nature and beliefs, right and wrong. We talked a bit and I told them, “I believe if we really love the Truth above all — if we love it so much we’re willing to let truth delete all our pet theories and reasoning — God will show us what is true and we’ll make it to Heaven someday.”

One of my young listeners spoke up and quite sincerely agreed with me.

So there we stood, the Mennonite and the Mormons, totally disagreed on doctrine yet agreed on something vital. The power of God. The ability and willingness of God to enlighten seeking humans. Our ability to grasp it — if we let go of our own formulations.

Having just come through Easter season, we’ve been reminded of Jesus standing in Pilate’s Judgement Hall. Again we hear Pilate’s question, “What is truth?”

He didn’t ask this because he really wanted to know. If you read the account you realize that Pilate knew full well what the facts were in this case. His question was really a sigh of frustration. a wish that truth would be more convenient for the situation he was facing.

This question has replayed through all ages, all issues, all human minds. Where in all this muddle of logic, feelings, rhetoric, and examples, do I find the truth?

Logic, Passion, Rhetoric, Reality

I’ve been pondering a variety of issues in the past few days, choosing certain avenues and exploring the adjoining side streets. What started this process was seeing a recently-published book on the Prohibition years in North America. In fact I bought it and am eager to read this writer’s take on the great experiment. A theory that should have worked — but instead crashed and burned.

Twenty-odd years back I did a study of the Women’s Movement both here and in Britain, mainly because of a friend who was really enthused about the subject. What we call the Women’s Movement today built up momentum in the late 1800s with a demand that the right to vote be extended to women. One arm of this movement, the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement (WCTM), threw their weight behind this demand and gave the movement a lot of its rhetoric. They did not give the movement its ultimate direction.

Once women gained the right to vote, the WCTM focussed on pushing through Prohibition laws. As my friend explained, “Their hearts were in the right place.” They saw how many women and children were victims of poverty and abuse because the father, the family breadwinner, was at the mercy of his “thirst.” The WCTU wanted to rescue destitute families and relieve suffering caused by alcoholism. Yes, their hearts were in the right place. And they used some powerful, logical rhetoric.

‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, “Put a fence ’round the edge of the cliff,”
Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”
Etc.
From “The Ambulance Down in the Valley”
by Joseph Malins (1895)

Pondering the obvious failure of Prohibition started me thinking about the difference between Theory, Rhetoric, and Fact. Why so some things work so well in theory and not in fact? Skillful use of rhetoric fires people up, seemingly everyone gets on board, this is going to work — then what goes wrong?

To be continued.

Blogger’s Blue Moons

Once in a blue moon…

— I feel like I’ve nothing much to say.
— I wonder if anybody’s really interested in hearing what I have to say.
— I decide that with so many others wanting to have their say I should just be quiet for awhile.
— I sense my mind just isn’t working properly these days anyway. (Alzheimer’s? Dead brain cells? Scrambled circuitry?)
— I’m overwhelmed with the despair that I’ve never accomplished anything worthwhile in my life and I may as well quit trying to be creative.
— I’m really anticipating spring’s arrival and the temp plunges to -22̊ C, dragging my enthusiasm down with it.
— I’m celebrating some super event in my life, like a 65th birthday, and not taking time to write anything.
— I get so enthused about something else, like reading a good book or my sewing projects, that I neglect my blog altogether.
— I have so much I’d like to write about that I don’t know where to start.

Every now and then all these blue moons come together, as they have this week, and really cloud my ability to write. Do you others have spells like this?

In spite of all these emotions rolling over me at times, I did have a very good birthday week. Our children took us to Montana’s Cookhouse restaurant for supper. Then my daughter threw an impromptu birthday party Wed morning (Mar 28th) and eight ladies from our church came bearing flowers and gifts, to wish me a happy birthday.

This week Tuesday we were in the city and I purchased a few gifts with birthday money given:
— a lovely 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle I found at a book store
— a 300-piece puzzle that took me only an hour or so to finish
— an oblong ceramic baking dish

I also signed up for Kindle Unlimited, a borrowing library from Amazon for which I pay $10 a month. I borrowed two books and have read one already. Browsing through their selection, though, I see so many authors I’d like to read, like Emily Brightwell, haven’t put their books into this system. And of course none of the “classics” like Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. So I wonder how beneficial it’s going to be for me in the long run. How many of you readers have subscribed to this and have you found it worthwhile?

At long last the urge to sew has come over me! Last week I finished one dress I had cut out, so I cut out and started sewing another. Yesterday I cut out a third. I’ll be working on those two today. Strike while the iron is hot! (A very useful cliché. I don’t know what I could replace it with. “Swing while the ball’s in your court?”)

Another cook at Silverwood Villa has asked me to take her place doing supper there tonight, so that will take a bit of time out of my day. Right now there are only three men residing at the Villa and the big meal served at noon; supper won’t involve a lot of time and effort.

Some parts of the province had record low temps one day this week and we hear the southern part of our province experienced a severe winter storm yesterday that caused accidents on major highways. So I’m glad that all we had was a sharp wind and frigid nights. How we wish for spring! I must say, though, I really appreciate the longer hours of daylight we’re enjoying now.

Another Day Dawns

Good morning, Everyone!

I wonder what the weather is like where you are? We had a nice taste of spring last week, but it blew away in a frigid wind yesterday. Sunday the temp got up to 4 C; this morning at 6 am the temp in Saskatoon is -18 C/ 0 F and the predicted high is -5 C or 23 F. Tomorrow is yet worse; the high is supposed to be -13 C or 9 F. Whimper! Pookie, our cat, wanted out first thing this morning but was ready to come back in three minutes later.

My birthday is almost over for another year. Yesterday Bob brought home a dozen roses, then last night our family took us out to Montana’s, a Saskatoon steak house, and we had a feast. I heard a whisper that there’s a little coffee party planned with some ladies this morning at Silverwood Villa, the seniors’ home where I used to work part-time and now occasionally fill in as cook. I think that’ll be the last of the celebrations. So I’ve been well fêted for birthday #65.

And I’m done bombarding you with micro-poems. It looks like my verses pleased some of the people some of the time yesterday. 🙂 Another thing I did was purchase the upgrade for this blog. I hope you won’t be seeing ads anymore.

I’d like to restart my micro-poetry blog again soon — maybe on May 1st. Tree Top Haiku has been dormant since November but I have a lot of new items to post. Last month I was going through my scraps-of-paper scribblings, getting those verses typed into files, categorizing all my files. Next month I hope to schedule a number of posts on Tree Top Haiku so I don’t have to worry about keeping up on a day-to-day basis all through summer.

I woke up before 5am, so should get lots accomplished today, right? Now I’d better get on to my sewing project for today: a new dress for myself. Here’s wishing you all a great day in whatever part of the world you live.