November 22, 2015 at 8:15 am (My City) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Daily Prompt: A Tale of Two Cities,

If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?

If I could teleport or have someone drive me, here are the two places I would choose. There is an eight to ten hours distance between the city I feel most comfortable in and the resort city that use to be a small town (I miss the small townness of it) where I spent many childhood summers with my dad and his family. In the summer I would take a bus between the two but in the winter the teleport idea would work best.

But how to divide the time: daily, weekly, monthly. It wouldn’t do to spend six months here and six months there as the climate is no better or worse depending on the seasons. Summer in the city is just as pleasing as summer in the mountains. Winter in the city is just as brisk as winter in the mountains. Spring is just as enchanting as is Fall spinning with colour.

Here is my city bursting full with Summer…


Here are my mountains in all their April (my birthday month) glory…


I even enjoy the rainy, cloudy days!

Oh, but how to choose. Christmas in the city or solstice in the mountains?

And to choose to only live in these two places always. I couldn’t! I haven’t been to New York’s Broadway yet or San Francisco or the Yukon.

But if I had to choose, these are the two places that I would teleport between forever more.

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”

― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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November 15, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Mourning Angel

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.

Jimmy Carter, Nobel Lecture, December 10, 2002

War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory.

Georges Clemenceau (1841 – 1929)

Art recreates Life.

When you don’t have the strength.

Paris vous êtes dans mes pensées: être sûr et prendre soin.


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At Seventeen

November 8, 2015 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve always been drawn to the dark.

My best friend & I hung out at graveyards/cemeteries when we were in elementary school.

SC Cemetery

I read Stephen King’s Carrie at thirteen.

When I was a teenager, 1970’s music was full of women singing songs with delightfully ambiguously dark themes.

Songs filled with images of tainted love & betrayal.

I never believed in the traditional vision of love and happily-ever-after.

I didn’t see it anywhere in my own life so how could it exist?

I learned the truth at seventeen,
That love was meant for beauty queens.

And those of us with ravaged faces,
Lacking in the social graces

dreams were all they gave for free,
To ugly-duckling girls like me.

(Here are the full Lyrics.)

Janis Ian was just like me. Lonely, an outcast, dreaming in the dark.

Cher was another woman singing and dreaming of the dark.

And then there was Helen Reddy telling me the tale of Angie Baby.

The headlines read that a boy disappeared
and everyone thinks he died
‘Cept a crazy girl with a secret lover…


According to my sister, two years older than me, I was in the mean class in High School.

Tammy, a mean girl classmate once hit me with a large board (art project) on top of my head when we were on the school bus. The driver did nothing. My classmates said and did nothing.

Did everybody see me drowning and nobody think to save me? I was barely able to save myself but somehow I did and reading about the secrets in the darkness helped me.

I recently read a YA Horror Anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. I loved it. I would have adored it at seventeen. The stories are chock full of girls who take charge and get revenge.


The book blurb reads as follows:

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

If you haven’t figured out the inspiration(s) by the end of the story, they are written out at the end of each one.

I’ve always been drawn to the dark.

See additional reviews:





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November 1, 2015 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Fall Fun

It is Autumn. My favourite season. It is a treat to take long walks in the crisp air and enjoy the sights and smells of fall.

Autumn is a treat. But it can also be tricky with an occasional cold front creeping in to give you a chill.

Trick or treat?

Lulu's Treat

Here is Lulu sharing my DQ treat. We both like small amounts of ice cream but only occasionally. Neither my system nor her system does well with dairy.

But it’s ice cream. Who can say no to ice cream?

Trick or treat?

Ladybug Ring

Once upon a time I use to treat myself with jewelry. I loved this ladybug  & flower ring. It could be one ring or two. It had a ladybug for luck on it.

But I never wear rings. They annoy me. I fiddle with them and they break. I am not a jewelry person.

Trick or treat?

VW Bug

I want a Volkswagen bug like this. I love the decals. I don’t love the price and I am not a car person. I am a walker. But I have coveted a VW bug ever since I saw Herbie the Love Bug as a child.

The classic VW bug has a manual transmission – almost all of the original-shape VW Beetles were built with a 4 speed manual transmission and I can’t drive stick and yes, I’ve tried! The new VWs offer automatic transmission as an option but somehow that just seems wrong. Then there is the complex history surrounding the Volkswagen.

Trick or treat?

So, what do you do when all your treats are also tricks?

You enjoy your paradoxical Halloween, of course!



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October 25, 2015 at 8:15 am (Goth) (, , , , , , )


Tis the season – for ghosts & ghouls & things that go bump in the night.

Time to be careful. Time to walk softly. Time to be cautious.

Time to relish screams in the night.

Time to enjoy horror movies.

Tis the season – just not this one.

Have a joyful and happy Halloween.

Be careful out there!

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October 18, 2015 at 8:15 am (Weather) (, )


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Thanksgiving Blessing

October 11, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )



For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, For love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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My First Death

October 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

There are many first in our lives: first picture, first day of school, first confirmation, first love, first kiss, first heartbreak … the list goes on and on.

In this goth-filled month of Halloween, I want to talk to you about my first death. Not the first death I experienced – that would be my great-uncle’s death. His was the first funeral I attended at thirteen years of age.

I want to talk to you about the first death I noticed. I was young. She was young. When the undertaker’s daughter died, this was the first time I had heard of a child dying and it made me realize that I too was mortal, that I too would die.

I was eleven or twelve and she was younger (seven I think). She was born with a hole in her heart in a time and place where this was still a death sentence. I was born with a congenital heart murmur. We grew up in the same small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business. So even though I never met here I knew who she was and why she died.

Her funeral was in the Fall just after school had started. It was a Catholic funeral. I did not attend as I was not catholic. I heard that the coffin was small and white. I heard that she was buried with her favourite doll.

“What does a child take with them?”

Where did she go? What did she remember as she paused between life and death? After all these years (parents now gone also) who remembers her? I remember her but I cannot name her.

Mount Osare (Mount Doom/Mount Fear) is an extinguished volcano far in the north [of Japan], where the dead are said to pause before leaving the world completely. (p. 26) Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye By Marie Mutsuki Mockett; New York: W. W. Norton, 2015.

We all knew what she left behind. Grieving parents and a grieving small town. She was an only child. Her parents never had another. Her father was the local funeral director but I don’t know if this was a profession he entered into before or after her death. I knew him, many years later, when he was an old man and I was a young adult. His wife had already passed on by then. I didn’t know him well enough to ask him such questions.

We don’t talk about death. It is morbid. It is wrong. But I am the child who use to haunt graveyards and read tombstones. There is art in such places. There is nature. There is joy. There is laughter. There are children there both living and dead. Maxine, my best friend, and I use to wander through the local cemeteries learning local history and speculating about what our grown-up lives would be like.

Our ancestors use to picnic in graveyards before there were parks. They use to remember. They use to prepare and bury their own. Is this why the father become an funeral director or was he one before tragedy struck?

I think about things like this. I am morbid by nature. Maybe it’s all those fairy tales I read in my childhood. The ones with death and witches and ghosts and ghouls and the true fey, lurking, plotting death and destruction on us mere mortals.

I always wanted to live in a gigantic and ancient place. Houses like those featured in Six Feet Under and the book The Undertaker’s Daughter. Houses haunted both metaphorically and literally by the past.

Just as the funeral home was a house for both living and the dead, this house seemed to exist somewhere between the past and the present.

I often wandered through the old part of the house when no one else was home. It felt like eavesdropping on another era. (Chapter 15)

The Undertaker’s Daughter
by Kate Mayfield
New York: Gallery Books, 2015

October. Death. Memory.

Samhain. El Dios de Muertos.

All I ask is that you remember me.

SC Funeral Home 01

To Be Sure

I wouldn’t want to bring him back
from his permanent internment
even if I could
but I wouldn’t mind a visit now and then,
a trip down
to keep each other company.

(Beginning of a poem by Larry Sorkin; the remainder of the poem can be found at the front of The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield.)

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Travel Theme: Fruit

September 27, 2015 at 1:32 pm (Meme) (, , , , , , , , )


These are Concord grapes. They are my favourite fruit. We were lucky to be able to afford one basket each September when I was growing up. Welch’s uses them in their juices and jams which I also love and never got enough of growing up. We had to buy the things everybody liked.

Now that I am a grown-up (mostly), I buy what I want to eat. I’ve bought six baskets of grapes in the last four weeks and I have eaten them all!

If you want to show you love me – don’t say it with flowers – send me raspberries, concord grapes and chocolate.

Written for Ailsa’s weekly travel theme.


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Are Pirates Romantic?

September 19, 2015 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today, September 19th, is Talk Like A Pirate Day.

dloweXMASPIRATESPara Abnormal Comic by Dave Lowe

Pirates were my first love then came cowboys. I yearned for wide, open spaces free from the conflict of the reality of school where I was tolerated or ignored. I wanted someone to rescue me and pirates seemed most up to the task. I wouldn’t have to make a decision. I could be kidnapped by a handsome, devilish rogue instead. It didn’t matter that I lived on the prairies about as far from the sea as one could get. It didn’t matter that pirates weren’t real (at least as far as I knew – we only got local news back before the internet told us everything we didn’t want to know)!

Pirates were handsome. Pirates were rogues. Pirates were devilish. They may be unkempt but were never smelly. They may be thieves but they had honor. A pirate code was a code of conduct for governing pirates. The pirates would draw up their own code which provided rules for discipline, division of stolen goods, and compensation for injured pirates. They took care of their own and once kidnapped, I would belong somewhere. I would be with people who wanted to be with me. (Lets just ignore rule six for now shall we)!

Open Sea

I’ve always been a sucker for devilish rogues with questionable morals. Rhett Butler is the man with the plan in Gone With the Wind. He knows what he wants and goes for it. Never mind the fact that I would run from a real man who acted like he did. I’d make him walk the plank and send him far away from me right quickly.

Though if he spoke to me like this, I think I would possibly swoon. Le sigh…

Dear Scarlett! You aren’t helpless. Anyone as determined and selfish as you are is never helpless. God help the Yankees if they should get you. — Rhett Butler to Scarlett O’Hara

I want a man who sees me as strong and capable well also loving me passionately!

I want a man who is on my side, by my side, no matter what. Though may not quite to this extreme.

Oh, Christian, why do you always play such bad, bad boys?

Raft Hook

Ah, the romance of Piracy! They attack, they loot, they vanish. They steal jewels and hearts. We’ve been romanticizing them since 1879 if not before.

Who wouldn’t love a man whose best friends are monkeys and parrots?

And such monikers they had – Blackbeard, Bluebeard, Calico Jack!

“This heres me man, Calico Jack!”

They winter on tropical islands. They have adventures that require scavenger hunts and treasure maps. They have plenty of money to shower you with gowns and jewels. Their treasure chests contain numerous pieces of eight!

X marks what spot?

Land Ho!

Okay, do I want to ensnare a pirate’s heart or do I want to be a pirate
like Anne Bonny and Mary Read?

Remember talk like a pirate today and

follow me, follow me away to the sea!




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