Friday Journal Page

Hi everyone. The weekend has arrived! And Friday the 13th, if that says anything to you. My off day was yesterday so today I hope for better things.

Specifically I’m still hoping for a call from my family doctor, giving me the results of the ultrasound I had Wed. An odd lump on my cheek, close to my ear: will it be a lymph node, a problem in the salivary gland, or something more sinister? Here’s hoping for good news — and I’d sure like it today. 😉

Yesterday I was waiting for a phone consultation with my oncologist, hoping she’d get me started ASAP on some chemo or pills to treat my CLL. In preparation for this visit I’d had a blood test Wednesday. Yesterday morning the oncologist’s nurse called to explain that the results of a couple of these tests wouldn’t be in for three weeks. (What kind of blood test takes three weeks??) And the doctor wants to hold off treatment until she has these results, will call me around Feb 2nd. There was no mention before of this possible delay, so I’m rather disappointed!

After dinner I sat in our recliner and zonked out. For me that’s sometimes my go-to response to emotional upsets. Later I went to the Villa, visited with the residents and played Mexican Train with Helena, one of the ladies there. Sometimes it’s helpful to run away from your problems. 🙂

This morning started out with a lovely rosy dawn. And later my husband drew my attention to our frequent visitors, the sharp–tailed grouse clan. I’d just tossed out feed for the sparrows and the grouse were clustered around, gleaning the grain. I counted at least ten, but they scuttle about constantly or cluster, so are hard to count.

This afternoon I’ve been scheduling some posts for early February, just in case I’m away from my computer a lot.

Mumbling Main Characters

Cookie Thief!

Mrs MacTavish walked into her kitchen after a short nap and surveyed her cooling racks. “Oh no,” she screeched. Someone was here while I was napping and stole half a dozen cookies!” She wrung her hands together. “Who could have done such a thing?”

Mrs Mac had been up early this morning. At least for her it was early, though some people wouldn’t think so. She’d baked three dozen gingerbread cookies to serve to her friends who were coming to tea this afternoon. Most of the cookies had come out delightfully round and plump, but a few of them looked a little too eccentric to serve to her friends. She’d set them aside on a separate cooling rack, thinking to offer them to Mr Mac when he came in for lunch.

She might not have begrudged the loss of the odd ones, but the thief had stolen six of the best. The ones she planned to serve with pride this afternoon, especially to show Jenny Lyons that she could bake cookies that looked just as nice as Jenny’s always did.

Furious, Mrs Mac looked around for some clue. Ah! There in the flour she’d dusted on the floor by accident. She hadn’t got around to sweeping it up because she’d misplaced her dustpan yesterday while she was cleaning house. I’m misplacing things so often these days, she thought. I hope this doesn’t mean I’m getting dementia!

Now, right there in that floury spot she saw one clear footprint. She bent down and examined the tread pattern carefully. The upper part was an interesting chevron pattern, something like her husband’s work boot. But this was smaller, so it couldn’t have been him. She was glad for that. He was a hard man to reprove, her Mac.

The missing cookies bothered her but it bothered her even more that someone had entered her kitchen and taken them without her hearing the door. Her hearing was getting worse, she knew. Maybe I should buy a hearing aid, one of those fancy contraptions like Mary Fraser just got herself? Nope. I’m saving my money for a trip to London in the fall. My cousin Nancy went last year and had a grand old time or so she said. Of course Nancy would, even if she hadn’t. She’s that sort of person.

If my story is A Day in the Life of Mrs Mac, this would work. If my story is The Missing Cookie Caper, this excerpt gives you way too much unnecessary info to digest – pardon the pun.

Mumbling Protagonists

I downloaded an e-book a week ago anticipating a cozy mystery. However, the age 60-plus main character does so much ramble-thinking it may as well be a memoir. She’s constantly comparing this-that-and-the-other or considering her family and her / their situation, or rehashing a dream she had. To me it feels like she’s mumbling to herself straight time. The mysterious deaths are lost in the fog. She sounds like an air-head because her mind wanders everywhere.

Doing a critique for a new writer yesterday, reading his Chapter One, I got the same feeling. Some nice metaphors. Just way too many.

Charles Dickens was a lover of metaphors, similes, personification and such – and he used them well.
The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.

People then had no media but the local raconteur and the printed page. Folks had time to read and obviously loved vivid descriptions. Today’s editors want Tight and Terse; readers don’t want a lot of metaphoric rambles, however colorful they be.

Recent Comings & Goings

Hello everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a journal post so I decided I’d do one this morning. We have another bright and sunny morning coming down, one of very many. Yes, we sometimes have clouds, but I can’t remember the last time it rained right here. This is indeed a dry and thirsty land: lawns are brown; roads throw up dust clouds.

Thankfully there was rain in the summer; I’ve heard that the crops have been okay here – and better some other spots in the province that got more rain. We seem to be in a pocket right here; due to the general flow of air currents above us, the rain clouds pass us by. Grasshoppers are growing long and brown this fall.

I suppose this is a common complaint of mankind, but the days seem to fly by and I get so little accomplished! Though my white cell count hasn’t gone up that much in the last few months, my energy level has dropped. I was rather wiped out in July, so I’m thankful the doctors discovered that I’m diabetic. I’m now on pills to treat that, and they definitely help. My oncologist is holding off on treatment my CLL and I’m okay with that.

I finished my casual cooking job at the Villa at the end of August; You could say I’m footloose and fancy free now. Wanting to do more painting. Wanting to do more writing – though you can’t tell from this poor neglected blog! Sadly, wanting isn’t doing. I get pretty depressed about that sometimes; seems my attention deficit syndrome gets worse every day. 😦

I’ve been visiting Critique Circle again and offering my two-cents’-worth to writers who post their stories on that website, hoping for feedback. It often takes a few hours to read a story and leave comments. I’m intrigued at the differences in North American writers and writers from India. Writing “by the book” maybe? Seem much more formal. No, “Hey, you. Whatcha doin’?” And different words: “He was relishing his meal of curried chicken.”

Bob’s taking a writing course and we’re told readers these days “have the attention span of a gnat.” In other words, no patience for a lot of loopy or formal wording. We’re learning to cut out EVERY unnecessary word. No double adjectives, like “an interesting little story.” No unnecessary adverbs like “he jogged slowly down the trail.” “A very good time was had by all” becomes “They all enjoyed themselves.”

Most of my flower pots are still nice, but the temp is supposed to drop to -3 C tomorrow night. According to the weatherman, we’ve come to the end of our mild fall and our nights will be frosty now. I’m still up every morning letting the cats out and filling water basins for the birds. Deer started coming in August and often drink them dry in the night. A lot of our birds have gone, but we still see mourning doves and oodles of sparrows. A flock of grouse have been foraging nearby; I saw them across the field Sunday and yesterday they were in our side yard, a dozen or more of them.

When I cooked at the Villa, I often worked on Sunday and could invite company to join us for dinner. That opportunity is gone so I’ve decided to get with it at home. This past Sunday we invited Ron & Laurie, friends who’ve just moved/retired here from Quebec, as well as Ray & Sandra, whom we’ve known for almost fifty years.

Two Sundays ago we had our children come for dinner. This was right after the terrible hurricane in the Maritimes so we discussed the clean-up work that would be needed after that. Our oldest grandson had to leave for Roblin, MB, soon after dinner; he’s working for a farmer there during harvest. Our oldest granddaughter was missing, too; she’s gone to teach school in Carrot River. You like to see them grow up but they tend to fly away on other adventures and their chairs at the table are empty. 😦 Last weekend the youth group from here, including our youngest granddaughter, went to Cartwright, MB for a youth rally. Since the Roblin youth went, too, she got to see her brother there – if that matters at all to teens. 😉

I’ve just started reading Drawing Near* by John Bevere and am finding the first chapter thought-provoking.

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Maybe this is enough musing. I’ll end by wishing you all a great day.

*Copyright 2004 by John Bevere
Thomas Nelson Publishers

The Neighborly Man

Recently I started reading a book titled EMBRACING OBSCURITY. The author, Anonymous, writes about how, in today's society, we're apt to feel we must be a SOMEBODY if we want to count at all. I haven't read far, but I gather he's saying we need to abandon dreams of being Big Names and settle for  being ordinary people. As Edgar Guest aspires to in this verse...
The Neighborly Man

Some are eager to be famous, some are striving to be great,
some are toiling to be leaders of their nation or their state,
and in every man’s ambition, if we only understood,
there is much that’s fine and splendid; every hope is mostly good.
So I cling unto the notion that contented I will be
if the men upon life’s pathway find a needed friend in me.

I rather like to putter ‘round the walks and yards of life,
to spray at night the roses that are burned and browned with strife;
to eat a frugal dinner, but always to have a chair
for the unexpected stranger that my simple meal would share.
I don’t care to be a traveler, I would rather be the one
sitting calmly by the roadside helping weary travelers on.

I’d like to be a neighbor in the good old-fashioned way,
finding much to do for others, but not over much to say.
I like to read the papers, but I do not years to see
what the journal of the morning has been moved to say of me;
in the silences and shadows I would live my life and die
and depend for fond remembrance on some grateful passers-by.

I guess I wasn’t fashioned for the brilliant things of earth,
wasn’t gifted much with talent or designed for special worth,
but was just sent here to putter with life’s little odds and ends
and keep a simple corner where the stirring highway bends,
and if folks should chance to linger, warn and weary through the day,
to do some needed service and to cheer them on their way.

From his book,  Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company
Image from Pixabay

Who Has It Better?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is ENVY. American poet Edgar Guest had some wise thoughts on this subject and many of his verses speak of being content, so I’m going to post a couple today.
Here’s the first…

THE OTHER FELLOW

Whose luck is better far than ours?
The other fellow’s.
Whose road seems always lined with flowers?
The other fellow’s.
Who is the man who seems to get
Most joy in life, with least regret,
Who always seems to win his bet?
The other fellow.

Who fills the place we think we’d like?
The other fellow.
Whom does good fortune always strike?
The other fellow.
Whom do we envy, day by day?
Who has more time than we to play?
Who is it, when we mourn, seems gay?
The other fellow.

Who seems to miss the thorns we find?
Th other fellow.
Who seems to leave us all behind?
The other fellow.
Who never seems to feel the woe,
The anguish and the pain we know?
Who gets the best seats at the show?
The other fellow.

And yet, my friend, who envies you?
The other fellow.
Who thinks he gathers only rue?
The other fellow.
Who sighs because he thinks that he
Would infinitely happier be,
If he could be like you or me?
The other fellow.

From his book JUST FOLKS
copyright 1917 by The Reilly & Britton Co.

Capricious Climate

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SECURITY

The calendar may say Spring starts March 21st, but here in the northern clime we have no security in that. Today is gray, gray, and a frigid blast from the northwest is driving small snowflakes past our window, sometimes lots, sometimes less. My phone tells me it’s -9 C at 11 am. So not spring!

As I looked out this morning I thought of a poem I read in an old IDEALS magazine. Apart from the autumn sky it fits well. This poem, full of personification — at least I think that’s what it’s called — was written by Oliver Herford. (See bio below.) It was included in a poetry book titled An American Anthology, 1787-1899:

BELATED VIOLET

Very dark the autumn sky,
Dark the clouds that hurried by;
Very rough the autumn breeze
Shouting rudely to the trees.
Listening, frightened, pale, and cold,
Through the withered leaves and mould
Peered a violet all in dread—
“Where, oh, where is spring?” she said.
Sighed the trees, “Poor little thing!
She may call in vain for spring.”
And the grasses whispered low,
“We must never let her know.”
“What's this whispering?” roared the breeze;
“Hush! a violet,” sobbed the trees,
“Thinks it 's spring,—poor child, we fear
She will die if she should hear!”
Softly stole the wind away,
Tenderly he murmured, “Stay!”
To a late thrush on the wing,
“Stay with her one day and sing!”
Sang the thrush so sweet and clear
That the sun came out to hear,
And, in answer to her song,
Beamed on Violet all day long;
And the last leaves here and there
Fluttered with a spring-like air.
Then the violet raised her head,—
“Spring has come at last!” she said.
Happy dreams had Violet
All that night—but happier yet,
When the dawn came dark with snow,
Violet never woke to know.

And here’s one I think we can all identify with:

To Music
Here's to Music,
Joy of joys!
One man's music's
Another man's noise.

This bio comes from publicdomainpoetry.com

Oliver Herford, 1863-1935, was a British born American writer, artist and illustrator who has been called “The American Oscar Wilde”. As a frequent contributor to The Mentor, Life, and Ladies’ Home Journal, he sometimes signed his artwork as “O Herford”. In 1906 he wrote and illustrated the “Little Book of Bores”. He also wrote short poems like “The Chimpanzee” and “The Hen”, as well as writing and illustrating “The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten” (1904), “Cynic’s Calendar” (1917) and “Excuse It Please” (1930). His sister Beatrice Herford was also a humorist.