I read a short verse this morning that flipped my mind back to our days in Montréal and how many times we rode the métro across the city. My nostalgic journey has inspired me to write the following verses as a tribute:
a swift whistle to the chaos
middle subway car
the first one on wakes up
at the end of the line
to the Jean-Talon Market
squashed on the ride home
all trains stop — riders whisper
another sad exit?
Today’s Word of the Day prompt is YESTERDAY. I can hardly miss this one, as I have lots to say about yesterday.
We were off to the city shortly after 9am yesterday; I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning and we had a writers’ group get-together in the afternoon. Once a month some of us Christian writers in this area get together to catch up and keep in touch. It’s always an encouraging sharing session. One of our group, Darlene Polachic, has written several Christian romances. Here’s Amazon link for the first book in her Ever Green series, of which there are five so far.
Yesterday I finally finished a jigsaw puzzle I started Sunday. It was a toughie, a 1000- piece artwork picture, the artist’s depiction of some southern (Tuscan?) village with background vineyards and trees, which means the whole puzzle is mostly shades of green-grey-aqua. I was convinced quite a few pieces were missing until the very end, when it turned out only one was. Smack in the middle of the sky! Do you throw out jigsaw puzzles with one piece missing?
Yesterday while I was waiting for my husband I downloaded and started to read a cozy mystery, one of the Aunt Bessie series by Diana Xarissa. I finished it this afternoon, between excursions outdoors to clean up the flower beds and pots. We’ve had some serious frost that’s left my annuals looking pretty limp. Time to get the pots cleaned up and put away.
Overall the series feels mild and homey. Aunt Bessie lives in her little cottage by the sea, on the Isle of Man, and gets together often with her friends for meals and discussions about whodunit. She seems to have a knack for being on the scene when a crime’s discovered and it helps that her good friends are Inspector John Rockwell, Bessie’s friend Doona, who works at the Police Dept., and Hugh Waterson, a local bobby who loves his food. Lately they’re often joined by Hugh’s new girlfriend, Grace. (They marry later in the series.)
This story starts out well but the middle slows considerably as they go in a lengthy circle of who committed the crime and get nowhere. Plus it’s Christmas and they get lost in a rather long discussion and sampling of seasonal goodies. I feel a mystery should move fairly fast and this one definitely could speed up some. If readers are really interested in the various kinds of cookies made in the US and how they differ from the English biscuits, they may not mind this detour from the investigation, but 3/4 of the way through I was ready to skip ahead and find out who the guilty party was.
Still, for a cozy mystery series this one is quite good. I really don’t like the ones where an aggressive amateur sleuth gets in people’s faces, demanding answers. I read and enjoy the Markham Sisters Bed & Breakfast series, by the same author. It also moves sedately for the most part and the mysteries are minor ones, like what their guests might be up to, or who might be spreading counterfeit bills in the little village of Doveby Dale.
This series reminds me of the Miss Read books I used to read long ago, “Life in a small English village” type of stories. And one thing I can say about both these series is that the writing is improving and the characters are developing more, and more sensibly, as the series progresses. Nice to see the writer learning and improving her craft.
I wonder how many of you recalled that old Beatles tune, “Yesterday,” when you saw today’s word prompt? If you’re under forty you maybe never gave it a thought, but that was a big hit when I was a young teen. Dates me, right? 😉
I looked at the Word of the Day prompt yesterday and saw that it was HUNGER, which I had nothing to write about. I cooked dinner at the seniors’ home and we were all quite well fed. So, unless I wanted to write about my hunger to finish reading my book in the afternoon.
The word prompt this morning at Word of the Day is WADDLE, leading me to think of ducks and sincerely hope there are no ducks waddling around out there this morning. I trust the wild things have some little voice, or inner sense that tells them “It’s time to go.” The sandhill cranes stopped here en route earlier this month, but they didn’t stay as long as they usually do. At least I didn’t see any Saturday. Good thing.
Our next item on the agenda is a major giving of thanks for the fact that we have electricity again. The cats woke me up before 5:30 to let me know the power was off — at least I suppose that was their intent. Power was off for over half an hour in all; I stumbled into the bathroom to check the wall clock. And the cats both decided they absolutely had to go out. And I regretted my last decision before I went to bed: I’d put off charging my cell phone until morning.
Our is not a delightful place today, as October has decided to come in quite lion-like this time around. The snow started yesterday around 1:30 pm while we were at the dinner table and continued….and continued…and is still in the process of continuing. We’ve got about 6″ on the ground now.
The snow came initially on a strong wind from the north, but now there’s just an accompanying light breeze. A good wind would help the trees, sweep them of all this snow. This is heavy, sticky snow, perfect for snowball fights and snowmen. Horrible for driving. Probably brought down a power line or two — or maybe someone on their way to work slid into a power pole?
This weight of snow is crushing for trees and shrubs. Last night I noticed our 3-metre amur maple with its branches hanging very low and feared they’d break down, so I went out with a broom to knock the snow off. I did the nine-bark branches as well; these are our only two really valuable trees near the house. Looks like I’ll have to do it again this morning. The poplars along the west side of the yard, which still have most of their leaves, are really drooping as well.
But this can’t stay! It’s not unusual to get flurries in September, but we usually only get our first real snowfall the last week in October. There’s a lot of canola lying in swaths under all this snow, waiting to be combined.
I wish merchants had a bit more of inner sense that would tell them when it’s the proper time to put up seasonal displays. I’d be happy to see Halloween start in October, not August. And when we were in the city on Thursday, two Lowe’s employees had just set up their tall artificial Christmas tree in the entrance. WAY too soon! In Walmart and other stores, Christmas candles and decorations are starting to shove over the Thanksgiving and Halloween stuff on the display shelves.
By the way, the fancy fonts I’ve used for this post are variations of LIONELO from Edric Studio over at 1001fonts.com
Today’s Word of the Day prompt is HABIT, a word with a wide range of meanings.
My first thought was : maybe it would be good for my writing if I made it a habit to participate in Word of the Day? Sometimes I can’t think of anything to write about a certain word, but this one really inspires me.
My second flicker went to the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I see it’s been followed by The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. Have you read either of these books? Did you find them helpful? I recently bought the second e-book in the Small Changes for a Happy Life series: Self-Discipline to Change Your Life by Robert Hensley. I’ll see what this writer suggests for little things I can improve on.
More power to those folks who become Highly Effective People. I’ve past 65 already and abandoned that dream; at this point I’m content to snail along as an Ordinary Person. But one can still pick up a few useful habits.
However, habits take discipline. Do it every day for a month and it will become a habit, but drop it for two or three days and you’re back to square one. So a person has to choose habits they can live with and determine that, come family, friends, or writer’s block, I’m going to do this.
Some lifestyle coaches say that our best way to gain ground is not in huge drastic changes — yesterday’s Word of the Day — but in forming small progressive habits. Like taking a five-minute walk every morning — then expanding the time to ten minutes, and on to half an hour. Thus you work into something rather than thinking, “I’m going to walk half an hour every day,” and finding it too much, so giving up the plan after a few times. Buy a month’s membership at the pool or fitness club for starters, rather than paying for a year’s activity and giving up after a week.
Not long ago I read an article by one Highly Effective Person who says people should make a To-Do list every morning. Write it down. Even if we don’t get everything crossed off, a list helps us set priorities and focus on getting the most important things accomplished. I make lists when I’ve something special going on but have never developed the habit, woe is me. I know some highly effective women who do make daily lists and I have to admire how much they get done in an average week.
Different strokes for different folks?
Apparently the word HABIT entered English via Norman French back in the 1200s and has expanded into the various meanings we have today. S’habiller still carries the same meaning in French as it did in the 1300s: to dress oneself.
According to Merriam-Webster: In its oldest sense, however, habit meant “clothing” and had nothing to do with the things a person does in a regular and repeated way. Today, this meaning is preserved only in phrases like “nun’s habit,” “monk’s habit,” and “riding habit” (clothes worn for horseback riding). In English, habit progressed from meaning “clothing” to “clothing for a particular profession or purpose” to “bearing, conduct, behavior.” The specific development of habit to refer to drug addiction began in the 19th century, with reference to opium.
It’s been awhile…as I’ve been otherwise occupied…and maybe a bit burnt out with writing? Lots of things I’d like to say, but hardly anything got written. You know how that goes, I’m sure. Life happens and sweeps a person on in a flurry of small stuff. Being obsessive-compulsive, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in, and totally distracted by, flurries of small stuff.
Anyway, here’s a quick report of our comings, goings, and doings this month.
I did write about cleaning up and getting rid of things. I went through my craft magazines and bookcase, sent a box of books to the used book sale coming up next month. Bob got in the mood and sent a few boxes of his books as well.
I’ve read a number of books, but mostly e-books, so they still clutter my e-reader and probably always will. My problem is to decide which of the used books I’ve bought at past sales that I’ll actually never read. What is it about used books sales…? 🙂
I cleaned up my sewing room (aka the spare bedroom) so it looks half decent now, and pieced three blanket tops for our Sewing Circle. I also cut out a dress for myself. Next project.
Among the finish-and/or-mend project in my sewing room I found the small storage tub of Socks-to-darn and have been working on those. I don’t repair large holes in sock feet; those get tossed, but most of these have small holes up toward the cuff. These can easily be darned so I’ve thrown a number of them in a “Someday” tub. And now someday has come, as part of my overall clean-and-declutter project.
I’ve dug up a strip for perennials in my former garden, now overgrown with weeds, grass, and tree roots. Replanted my iris into this new spot; they’ve been struggling and straggling for the past few years in long-neglected perennial beds. I actually found a few tiny hollyhocks growing in the garden and have planted these in the new bed beside the iris. Now it’s time to empty the large flowerpots and prepare for winter.
On Tuesday we took a drive up to Naicam to locate the graves of my Falconer great-grandparents, supposedly buried in a cemetery there. Nada. Guess I’ll need to go back to the older family members and ask again.
The trip took several hours; en route we saw some huge flocks of snow geese. One pond, and one hillside, were almost white — hundreds of geese! We drove by the Quill Lakes, hoping to see some birds at the Sanctuary there, but couldn’t drive close enough. That’s canola country and we saw many fields of canola swathed, a few combines going. It’s been wet and harvest has been slow this fall.
Winter is definitely around the next corner; we’ve had predictions of snow flurries already. It was only 2 degrees (36 F) at 6:30 am this morning. Our resident barn swallow pair raised their second batch of young — only two this time — and they’ve stayed in and around the shed until a few days ago. I guess by now they’ve joined the flocks heading south.
My computer’s been giving me problems, slowly getting more sluggish in the past months. At the last it kept shutting off and taking five minutes or so to fire up again. I finally sent it for a checkup on Monday and the tech fellow says the hard drive’s been slowly dying, so he replaced it and I’m good to go. We were dreading having to shell out for a new PC, but the cost for this repair was only $75, thanks be! We fetched the PC home yesterday and Bob got it up and running again. Works smoothly and speedily now.
I’ll celebrate by squashing all this procrastination and doing a blog post. 🙂
The sights and sounds I’ve seen so far this month:
Lots of clouds this past week, and periodic sprinkles, if not full-out rain. The ripe grain crops are still in the fields; since we have sunshine today the farmers will likely be tuning up their combines.
I was quite amazed to see a hummingbird visit our feeder a couple of times the day before yesterday. The nights haven’t been very cool, so I guess she felt she could linger at the sweet-shop a little longer. I haven’t seen any yesterday or today, though, so maybe she’s left us.
I heard the first cricket chirping yesterday afternoon. A nice note for fall, but still…
And in the Dept of Wretched Rushing, we’ve seen:
— Halloween costumes displayed in Cosco several weeks ago. Ridiculous, IMO!
— Yesterday we were in Walmart and I saw they’ve started putting their Christmas decorations out for sale already. Mo-o-o-an!
The smell of too much, too long?
I’ve had that “drowning in stuff” feeling again lately, so I pulled out my favorite how-to books: Clutter’s Last Stand, by Don Aslett.* If you haven’t seen this book, you should. Not only is the prose well done and inspiring, but the text is matched with the hilarious illustrations of Judith Holmes Clark. This book is worth looking through just for these! Even people who can’t read English will get the picture — pun intended.
*Writer’s Digest Books, *Copyright 1984 by Don A Aslett, author of Is There Life After Housework?
On the first page is Mr Aslett’s promise: “You’ll immediately lose 100 lbs without dieting.”Now that has serious appeal.
Yesterday I opened a cupboard door and pulled out my quilting magazines to lend to a neighbour, and took out Mom’s old recipe binder as well. Confession: I haven’t used one recipe from this book since we brought it along when we moved her in with us back in 1999. But it was MOM’S! How could I possibly toss it? Alas, its pages are very musty and I had a sore throat after looking through it.
Day One of my 100-pound weight loss plan: This morning I pulled all the old knitting, crochet, craft, and folk-art magazines and books, and Writer’s Digest mags, out of that cupboard and now have a pile to shred, a pile to go to Value Village, and a stack of Grandma’s recipes for my daughter to look over. (She’ll probably toss them, too. You can find so many online these days, with quantities geared to our smaller families.)
At least five pounds lighter now, I can take a little break and blog. My folk-art painting books and a few chosen craft books I’ve set outside to air before storing them again — just in case I ever give up blogging and want to do some knitting, painting, or crochet project. (We’ll visit this issue again in a few years. 🙂 )
I’ll never get to the scene below, but there is a happy medium somewhere.
And that’s where I’m at on this lovely fall day: a slightly stuffy nose, a bit of a sore throat, a pile of paper by the shredder, golden leaves wafting down on our lawn, and Angus asleep in my computer chair — a year-round sight.