Moonbeams 1

I was awake and reading into the wee hours, and the full moon was up, too, lightening the landscape. It was still with us at 7:30 am, shining through misty clouds in the early morning light. What would our night sky be like — or our tide-less oceans — without the moon! And how many billion verses has this same moon inspired through the centuries?

Here are some of my MOON haiku:

majestic moon arrives
to preside over the stars
benevolent governor
midnight verses
when sleep won’t come
only the moon is clear
even to the drunkard
snoring in the alley
the moon is kind
moon heads west
drawing the tides
dreams see the light

Short Books or Fine Print?

Yesterday’s e-mail from GoodReads tells me that if I need to catch up with my Reading Challenge goal by the end of Dec, the answer might be to read a few shorter books. Makes sense. In fact I just read several children’s books and each one took me only a couple of hours.

Image: Engin Akyurt — Pixabay

One thing I enjoy about children’s books is the low emotional investment. Yes children have their woes, but rarely the tortured relationships and breakups you find in adult novels. Endings are usually upbeat.

GoodReads helpfully provides a list of fairly new releases they say are all quick reads, so I had a look through the list to see what was on offer, and decided that these were only shorter versions of the same novel-length plots. Speaking of woes, one book that caught my eye was Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. This is her memoir of growing up as one of the few Asian American kids at her Eugene, Oregon school. How she struggled with her mother’s high expectations of her; the treasured months she spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, of bonding with her mother, meeting the man she married, and later facing her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Checking this book on Amazon I noticed an interesting discrepancy re: e-book versus print edition. GR claims this story is 239 pages; Amazon lists the paperback as 416 pages. Hmm… How does one condense 416 pages into 239? Finer print on an e-reader?

This discrepancy led me to do yet more checking on their shorter books. Another on the GR list is Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Length: 116 pages; 176 pages as a hardcover book on Amazon. I’ve never taken note of this difference before. I’m not sure who decides that stat anyway, as the size of font readers select for their own e-reader will make a huge different in the number of pages, right?

Now, if anyone’s trying to beat their Reading Challenge and looking for quick reads with interesting story lines, I suggest you check out some of Canadian author Jean Little’s books. Sadly they aren’t all available through Amazon; I think more are listed on Kobo and Canadian libraries will likely have paperback copies. Willow and Twig is a really good story; Look Through My Window, From Anna, Mine For Keeps, Stand in the Wind, The Belonging Place, to name a few, plus half a dozen historical novels from the Dear Canada series. I’ve read almost all of her books. The books by Beverley Cleary are good quick reads, too; Ramona Quimby and friends have their amusing anxieties and adventures we can all relate to.

If you really like something different in the historical line, you could take on Ten Tomatoes That Changed the World, by William Alexander. Came across this one in my wanderings this morning. A “social history” of the tomato from its discovery in the Aztec lands to becoming the most popular North American vegetable. Pricey book, though: $17 for the kindle version. Which has 321 pages; paperback, 320 pages. Same size font?

Enough musing about books. We had a nice mini-blizzard Saturday that knocked out the power in this area for six-and-a-half hours from mid-afternoon until about 8:30 pm. Temp was just below freezing, so we were quite snug with our wood stove going, but the outage disturbed plans for those gathering for the wedding here on Sunday morning. Church board members were asking for generators for the family supper at church and the youth gathering that evening. Kind of hard to play volleyball and eat in the dark. Not to mention that when the power’s out, so is the water supply. Another snow yesterday, light and fluffy. Temp -20 C this morning, so winter is here to stay.

Sale! Sale!

Unseen between the lines
for the most incredible sales–
the lowest, absolutely lowest
prices of the season
(or the season-to-come)
squeaks the plaintive plea:
"Come shop, come buy!
Keep our store well away
from that dreaded red line."

Pardon me! I do got on about this. Comes of seeing my In-Box popping with the latest ads. Christmas items half-price this week! (And next week…and the week after…) Even FlyLady’s tools are in the Christmas Sale bin now. Fabricland ran an ad this week advertising a Pre-Black Friday Weekend Sale, Nov 4-7th. Shriek! I could block these ads but, being a crafter in cloth as well as art supplies, I do like to know about these sales.

The Fabricland e-mail asks, “Isn’t Black Friday Better Early?” No! If I had my druthers Black Friday would disappear and never return — especially here in Canada. We don’t need to import every invasive species! But…sigh…would it make any difference? “A sale by any other name…” and all that. Pre-Boxing Day Sales should start in three weeks. Do Americans get bombarded with those?

Do sales ads get you enthused, or are you POCOCURANTE re: sales? (My newest dictionary discovery. 🙂 )

Graphic Image by Pete Linforth — Pixabay

Morning Pastiche

This post will be a mix of various thoughts and events and, since I love unusual words, I’ve chosen PASTICHE for my title. A pastiche is a collection of sorts, bits from here and there. One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions is: a musical, literary, or artistic composition made up of selections from different works. Synonyms: alphabet soup, assortment, collage, crazy quilt, hodgepodge, patchwork, potpourri, etc.

Activities

I cooked a few meals at the senior’s residence in October. The funeral here three weeks ago, the deceased was the husband of one of the regular Villa cooks, so I filled in a few times for her. And will again this month. Yesterday I got the schedule, with fourteen “open” meals I could choose from.
Last Sunday our congregation was small, with many locals attending a wedding in Alberta. The bride being a teacher here for several years, a number of families with school children attended. This coming Sunday there is to be a wedding in our church – and by all reports it will be huge. The bride was also one of our Villa cooks this fall – until the groom offered her other employment.

Wildlife Chez Nous

I’m still setting out water for the wild things. My basins, full at night, are licked right dry almost every morning. I’ve mentioned seeing deer; early one morning two days ago I even saw a very shaggy coyote around my basins.
Sunday morning I looked out about 9:30 and saw a flock of at least a dozen grouse poking around close to the house, between here and the garage, with some nearer the water basins. These ones headed for the back yard. Looking out the front window a few minutes later I saw another, separate, flock of 8-10 out by the road. When we drove out of the lane to go to church one of these was perched in a tree west of the lane. Of course the magpies and sparrows come for the spread-out seed treats. The lame one is still among us.

Weather

Rained in Saskatoon while we were in the city yesterday. We got just a sprinkle overnight here — sigh! No frost though; our fall weather is holding. Christmas is coming up too fast. Stores have been setting out displays since Sept and Michael’s already has their Christmas trees and decorations for sale at half price!

Books & Writing

NaNoWriMo has started! Writers and wanna-be writers around the world are working hard every day to come up with the 1200 words (the average needed) every day to complete 50k in 30 days. I didn’t plan to do it this year, seeing too many other things on my plate right now.

I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been reading — just finished FOREIGN to FAMILIAR by Sarah A Lanier. This is a book everyone should read! Contains vital info for those interacting with folks of a different culture. She shares personal experiences of living in different parts of the world and observing how cultures relate to each other. Her conclusions about relationship-based cultures versus the (primarily northern) take-oriented cultures are very insightful and would help someone avoid the serious faux pas made because mind-sets are so different.

Last week I finished The Aberdyll Onion by Victor Canning. This is a book of short stories, all with unique twists that send a downhill slide back to an upbeat ending. So if you’re one who enjoys a happy-ever-after ending, you may want to read this one. I once read another of his books, Mr Finchley Discovers His England, and found it rather delightful. More like “escape” reading than realistic historical fiction, but it was enjoyable watching him meeting hoboes and rogues as he adventures his way across part of England.

I’ve just finished Sweet Danger, the action adventure-treasure hunt by Margery Allingham. One reader calls it wildly improbably and melodramatic. Yes, you have to suspend belief at times. The villains are ruthless – yet they politely tie the good folks up and never assault the lovely ladies. (Mind you, the death penalty was hanging in those days, so maybe murders were rare.) Albert is so clever that he manages to switch himself with a good friend without his captor ever noticing. Still, he gets his usual captures, shoot outs and near-drownings.

An article this morning on REEDSY, caught my eye. The subject this morning on this site for writers was the popularity of romance novels. Apparently these are Amazon’s best-sellers. The article explains how to choose a situation, or trope, that will interest readers, create sympathetic characters the reader can identify with, how to publish, etc. If you’re interested, you can read more here.

Would You Ever?

The Lame Magpie

Would you ever feel
a smidge of sympathy
for a lame magpie?
Yes, one of those
obnoxious pests
greedy pigs,
black & white gangsters!

Sure, it can still fly…
but if you saw it every day
hobbling across your yard
picking at bird seed
scattered for the sparrows,
would your heart be touched
in some small way?

If you’d see its crippled leg
buckle at each step,
see it shunned and shooed
by its own kind,
would you ever feel
just the teensiest bit
sorry for the thing?

Image: OpenClipArt Vectors — Pixabay

For the past month a lame magpie has been hobbling around our yard, and I must confess that I do feel a bit sorry for the bird, in spite of its many generic faults. 🙂

A Birder’s Dream!

Something quite interesting happened today and I thought I’d share it with you, dear readers. If you’re a bird lover like me you’ll wish you’d been here and seen it, too.

Image: Robbi Drake — Pixabay

I don’t recall why I stepped outside not long after dinner, but when I did, I heard the characteristic rusty-hinge croak of sandhill cranes. The sound was far off, so I looked around and spotted a very large flock coming in from the north, flying fairly low. Their course would bring them almost over our yard, so I stood on the open deck and watched them come.

Just before they reached our yard, part of the flock veered off eastward, but then circled back until they, as well as the others, were almost over our mobile home. As I watched them, it seemed like they stopped and just sort of hovered for a couple of minutes – maybe studying this odd creature below?

It seemed rather amazing that I was looking up at them and they were almost stationary, looking down on me. They didn’t get close enough for me to have a really good look, but were flying about the height of our tall poplars. Pausing for a moment before carrying on southward, likely for a stop by the river – the Saskatchewan River is not far south of us as the crane flies. This flock will likely go on to the bird sanctuary near Martha Kennedy’s home in Colorado. She blogs HERE

The snow we got on Sunday is almost gone; just a few patches left here and there. A few warm days ahead and then we’re back to chilly temps, the weather man says.

Tomorrow is our daughter’s birthday. How do the years roll by so fast?! I can’t call myself a spring chicken anymore, if my daughter’s over 50. Maybe I should start wearing purple and join the Red Hat club, if there’s one around. 🙂

I wonder how many of you are doing NanoWrimo this year? It starts in four days, at the stroke of midnight Nov 1st, so you’d best get your pencils sharpened, or keyboard dusted, and your outline completed. Buy a bunch of frozen dinners and pizzas.