Book Quotes: Shiny

July 31, 2016 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Like a magpie, I am a scavenger of shiny things: fairy tales, dead languages, weird folk beliefs, fascinating religions, and more. (Author’s note)


…she was the one artists would want to draw…She was the one who would someday know a dozen ways to wear a silk scarf, how to read the sky for rain and coax feral animals near, how to purr throaty love songs in Portuguese and Basque, how to lay a vampire to rest, how to light a cigar, how to light a man’s imagination on fire. (p. 24)

It wasn’t a Gothic cemetery; there were no mossy angels weeping miraculous tears of blood, no crypts or curses or crumble. No poets or courtesans were buried here; no vampires slumbered belowground. … Even the dead loitering here spoke of dull things, like the one who worried she’d left the stove burning when she died. (p. 45)

(Goblin Fruit pp. 1 – 55)


Lips Touch: Three Times
by Laini Taylor
Toronto: Scholastic, 2009 Lips Touch

Permalink Leave a Comment

Fairy Wishes

June 5, 2016 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

How to wish?


Sculpture at Trentham Estate by Robin Wight

(orginal photo by Susan Rushton) Sculpture at Trentham Estate by Robin Wight


  • Blow on a dandelion puff and make a wish. Then say:

“Dandelion, puffs away,

Make my wish come true some day.”

          Once all the “whiskers” are gone, your wish will come true.


Fairy Porch

  • Make a wish when you see three birds on a telephone wire. Watch out they are not a murder of crows. The rhyme below is the one that pertains to crows:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret,

Never to be told.

Eight for a wish,

Nine for a kiss. ..


  • Make a wish on the first star you see at night.

Star light star bright,
The first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.


  • Make a wish with another person on a chicken’s wishbone. Each takes an end and pulls until it breaks. The person with the largest piece of bone gets the “lucky break” and their wish. My baby brother always cheated at this.

Fairy Cottage

  • Find a penny, wear it in your left shoe, and your wish will come true. This is getting harder and harder to do as country after country stops producing pennies!


  • Hold your breath and make a wish while crossing a short straight bridge. Careful there are no trolls underneath.

Fairies in the Garden

  • Wishes made on Midsummer’s Eve (June 19, 2016) are most likely to come true.

What you wish for is up to you!




Permalink Leave a Comment

Travel theme: Creative

March 13, 2016 at 8:15 am (Meme) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Lulu doing yoga

My cat does yoga. I wish I was that flexible (but then she is only two)! She is so creative that she creates her own poses. This is her Upward Facing Cat Pose.

March 11 16 corner pool

Spring is being creative. All the snow is melting and forming into new shapes and challenges. I face an obstacle course of streams, rivers, and hurdles as I walk. Yesterday, it took me thirty minutes to walk downtown. I can usually do this walk in ten minutes in ideal conditions. The above picture is of the Lake of Four Corners.


I did these doodles when I was in university. I would doodle during lectures because it seems my mind is happiest multi-tasking. There is a Computer Genius and a Mad Scientist – you can see part of a multi-media piece (Frankenstein‘s Guardian Angel) in the background. I don’t doodle much any more. I only trust my art making skills when half my mind is occupied elsewhere!

I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t understand perspective, I didn’t understand shading, and I didn’t have the innate ability that this kid and people like him had. I recall feeling frustrated and sad and eventually giving up.

Be creative. Be brave. Make art.



Permalink 2 Comments


January 10, 2016 at 8:15 am (Faery tales, Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Luxury. What is luxury?

Is it raspberries every day? My own personal chef and driver?

Is it owning a VW bug?

The thing is, I’m no longer trying to keep up with the Jones or anybody else (not even my sisters or any other family members that I use to envy).

I have what I need – a house of my own, a cat, enough to eat and wear and read. The things I want are not as tangible. What I want are good friends, a healthy long life and just enough noise and laughter and love in my life as I can stand.

Not less then ten years ago I would have said that I wanted Beauty’s library or a Victorian house.

I’ve since discovered that all I really need is a decent library within walking distance and that Victorian homes are too big for only one person to inhabit and clean!

Now I know that bigger is not necessarily better as the cat and I rattle around in a three bedroom home with a never used basement.

I could go smaller and still be content within myself.

But, ah, if I had money to burn, money to waste.

I might spend some of it on a Faberge animal or automaton or heart-shaped box (no, not this one or maybe this one) or one of his amazingly realistic flowers. I’ve long coveted Faberge eggs. I’d had loved to have had access to the original Faberge workshop. As a teen, I didn’t want to keep up with the Jones I wanted to keep up with the Romanovs! And if I couldn’t be a Romanov I wanted to study with a 19th century Russian ballet company.

Or I might buy this very cute bejeweled silkworm by Henri Maillardet.


No, to be completely honest, I’d buy a Degas – one of his dancers (painting or sculpture it really doesn’t matter).

But with the price hovering over ten million pounds, I’m pretty sure I’ll never have that much money to spend recklessly!

Permalink 1 Comment

Tattoo Me!

August 16, 2015 at 8:15 am (Meme) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Daily Prompt from August 5th asks:

Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?

and this week’s photo challenge is “creepy“!

I don’t have a tattoo, but if I did it would portray something a lot of people find creepy.

To many people bats are frightening, eerie, disturbing, menacing, and literally hair-raising –

even the cutesy Halloween bats shown here!

I’ve coveted this tattoo ever since I saw it on the Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos’ blog (unfortunately no longer supporting pictures). That was way back in 2010.

I have twin nephews who go all out with tattoos – sporting full sleeves and elaborate back & even face tattoos.

Many of my other relatives (brother, nieces) also sport the odd tattoo.

I won’t be getting a tattoo anytime soon. I avoid pain.

But if I did get a tattoo it would be inspired by this:

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!

And it would look like this (not my picture – it was originally on Contrariwise so I do not know who to credit. If it is yours and you want it removed email me and I will).


I wonder how painful it would be to get a tattoo on one’s foot (and just how expensive this design would be)?

Permalink 1 Comment

Secondhand Cats

November 16, 2014 at 8:15 am (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Lulu came out of hiding today.


I acquired a cat last week. She was a bit cranky at first and spent most of this week hiding. Which is understandable; she spent a day in the car to come here to a house where she had never been to live with someone she has never met.

She was my niece’s cat and now is mine.

We had a rocky start. I got bit. The bite hit bone and thus left a bruise (see picture below).

Nevertheless, today Lulu has come out of hiding. She played with me and sat on my lap. She ventured out of her safe room and started to explore her new home. Perhaps we’ll be friends after all.

However, I remain optimistically cautious.

Bite & Bruise

The thing is that I seem to keep acquiring second-hand cats that never seem to stick around.

We had family cats growing up. The first one I remember is a smoke black cat named Smokie. There is a picture of her with her kittens in one of my mother’s old photo albums. I think I remember the picture better than I remember the cat.

The cat I remember best is Willie, a big white tomcat who always felt like mine more than anyone else’s in the family. He slept with me. He hid with me when I would read under the bed. When we got a puppy, Willie adopted it as his own and taught him how to behave. I have a picture somewhere of Willie and Joey sleeping tight together (if I find it I will post it later this week).

We moved the summer I was thirteen. Willie didn’t like the move. It probably didn’t help that Joey had died that summer as well. The move was just one change too many for my old cat. Willie kept running back to our old house. Eventually he didn’t come back. When we couldn’t find him we assumed he died that winter; he was a very old, cantankerous tomcat. I miss him. I miss his warmth.

After that, the family got another dog. Well actually, my absentee divorced dad, without asking, brought us a new dog that he had named Trudeau after the prime minister (another story for another time). We shorted the dog’s name to Truce and he lived with us for many, many years.

Farm Kittens

Towards the end of my time living under my mom’s roof we would catsit my eldest sister’s cat over the winter. When my eldest sister was in university she acquired a pregnant street cat that came home with her and moved out to the farm with her when my sister married. The cat’s name was Mom. So Mom would move into town to our house for the winter. When I was at work she stayed in my mother’s basement. I would come home from work , open the basement door and meow and Mom would come to talk with me and sleep on my bed till morning. If I wiggled my toes, she would attack them. Sometimes I wiggled my toes on purpose. Mom was a very smart cat. She knew where her food was and if she felt she was not being fed enough she would climb into the cupboard, knock the box over and help herself.

My sister’s cats have always known me. As have their dogs. I go away for years at a time and when I come back the animals still know me. The animals still love me.

Cat & Pumpkin

The first cat that I had that was all mine was one of Mom’s kittens. He was called Tomcat or Kid or Son depending on what mood I was in. He was just mine and didn’t really fraternize with other members of my family. He ran away the weekend of my High School graduation (there were too many people around – I totally understood where he was coming from) and never came back.

After that, no more cats. No more pets for me. I got married (we had hamsters for awhile), got divorced, went back to university and moved and moved and moved again and then moved some more. I was a nomad. No time for cats. No room for cats.

I catsat for a month one summer at university when a friend went home. The cat’s name was Erasmus and he loved to have the tangles combed out of his fur. He was a street rescue and when my friend graduated university, Erasmus (potential scholar) moved out to her parent’s farm. I wonder what he and the farm cats conversed about on long winter nights. Someone needs to write a story about the homeless city cat who was rescued and his country farm cat cousins!

I always looked forward to the day I would settle down enough to have a cat of my own again.

When I first bought my house I almost got a cat. My sister’s friend’s cat had recently been relocated to my nephew’s farm and it was looking like that might not work out. But it did. The cat has adjusted; she is happy on the farm chasing mice and running free.

Than two of my step-dad’s cats had kittens (see second picture above) and I was going to take the black one once my Fall settled down. This was just about to happen when my niece needed to relocate her indoor only apartment Siamese cat. I’ve always wanted a permanent cat of my own. I’ve always wanted a Siamese even though they are very particular! It seemed fated.

Thus Lulu came to live at my house.

I’m that cat lady. I stop during my walks to chat with strange cats on the street. I wonder how much work a secondhand lion would be. For one, I’d need a bigger place before I acquire one of those. If I’m not careful I will end up with thirty cats or more.

We’ll see. Maybe Lulu will decide to relocate herself like all my other cats have.

Cats, after all, can be very peculiar.


Permalink 3 Comments

Me Me Me

April 6, 2014 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , )

Me me me. This post is all about me! This weekend is all for me. Today I celebrate me.

Growing up I wanted my initials to spell out something.

Ann Estelle

Like my favourite writer.

M E Kerr…link 1, link 2, link 3.

or the artist ME who uses her initials as her brand.

ME-Ann Estelle

Mary Engelbreit…link 1, link 2, link 3.

I am a writer. I employ a Nom de Plume.

Bkmks 1

I write under a pseudonym. Pseudonym – don’t you love that word. Isn’t it lovely. Isn’t it mysterious. Who is that masked writer?

I am nobody. Who are you?

Bkmks 2

I am me.

This weekend is my happy to me.

I will celebrate by watching the new Veronica Mars movie that I bought on release day and saved for tonight. I have been avoiding spoilers for over two weeks. Exhausting!

Happy to me. Happy to you. Happy to all.

I am me. Who are you?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Extravagance: Book Quote Sunday #1

January 26, 2014 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

They were the most extravagant box of Crayolas she’d ever owned. She’d begged her mother for the ninety-six-color pack every year for a decade, back when things like crayons mattered. But her mother always said forty-eight was more than enough for any scenario a girl growing up in the great state of Maine might encounter. (p. 386)

The Moth and the Spider (by Sarah Ockler) pp. 378 – 410 in Defy the Dark (ed. by Saundra Mitchell) New York: HarperTeen, 2013


There are things I remember always wanting. That white lace dress. That Thumbelina doll. A 64 pack of Crayola crayons. Didn’t need. Wouldn’t ever get. We couldn’t afford something so unnecessary. They were too decadent. Who would ever need more than the basic eight colours – red, yellow, green, blue, brown, black, orange and purple! Blue for the sky. Green for the grass. Brown for the forest (I couldn’t see the forest for the trees). Yellow for the sun. Red for sunsets and fires and roses. Purple for grapes and lilacs. Orange for oranges and sunrises. Black for endless, starless night.

Black, also, to make crayon etchings aka scratch drawings. We learnt this art technique early (Kindergarten, Grade 1). What you do is fill a piece of white paper with crayon – colour, shapes and patterns, making sure to press hard. It is best to use light colours at this stage. Once you have filled the paper with colour and different crayon patterns, colour heavily over the whole paper using black crayon. Plan out a picture or design and using something sharp like a paper clip, scratch designs into the black crayon. The light colors will show through where you scrape away the black.

I keep buying Crayola wax crayons and giving them away. I actually bought this tin when it first came out. I no longer have it. Mostly likely it went to my nieces and nephews.


I always feel so guilty. Like I don’t deserve a large pack of crayons because I’ll never use them. I don’t have enough time or paper or talent to justify the expense. There are too many colours. I mean, really, how many reds does one need – raspberry red, blood red, rose red, rust red, burgundy, crimson, ruby, scarlet? I mean, how many shades of colour can their be out there? What is the difference between blood red and crimson?

I have no talent for visual representation. That is not the sort of artist I am. I create art with words or at least, I try to.


I need. I want the wax crayons just for fun. I want to sit at a table randomly selecting colours and draw circle, lines and spirals. I want to lose myself in the experience until I am one with the colour. I want to lose myself until all I can see is the colour.

A sea of blue. A silver sky. A wheat field of gold. Red blood cursing through my veins.

An endless black and starless night.

Permalink Leave a Comment


November 3, 2013 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

“For one whole season, Audrey kept a bucket of glitter next to our front door. Every morning, as she headed out the door to school, she’d toss a handful of glitter in the air, walking through it as she headed out the door, leaving faint, barely discernible flecks of gold in her hair and on her clothes, her eyelashes even. And our floor. No point in vacuuming. And anyway, I liked it. ” (p. 18) (No Elves in the Night by Joyce Maynard. pp. 11-19 in Dirt: the quirks, habits, and passions of keeping house edited by Mindy Lewis)


Click to be directed to website…

It is the day after Halloween and I am in the midst of El Dia de los Muertos. No idea why my mind has defaulted to thoughts of glitter (glittery thoughts). Perhaps because my artsy little sister painted a skull for Halloween and I, once again, wished I was even a little bit crafty. I’m not. I hate the messiness of great art. Great art is so seldom created precisely in small spaces; you need mess and largeness, fearlessness and the ability to make messy mistakes to create great art. You need to be willing to drop and break and fling things about to make great art.

And I can’t. I can’t be messy! My world must be neat and clean and precise!


I am a perfectionist and a procrastinator. I can not create something imperfect even if it leads to something great. I can not live in a mess. Every night, before bed, my house is straightened and my dishes are done and my clothes are neatly lined up waiting for tomorrow. I was raised this way and I took the lesson too much to heart. My other siblings did not – they have the ability to feel safe in a dis-organized space. They have the ability to try and fail and try again. I envy them this ability.


Click for an alternative point of view…

Thus, I hate glitter. Once used, glitter invades a space and never leaves. My mother loves to get glitter; she loves it when tiny glitter hearts or shamrocks escape from the cards her friends send her. She loves it even as she curses the  inability of her vacuum to clean it up. She loves it even when six months later she is picking up tiny green glitter Christmas trees off the kitchen floor. The great grandchildren love grandmother’s glittery house.

She’d love to bake with edible glitter if she baked. She cooks; I bake. No gold glitter in my banana bread, I say!

And no, I don’t need to glow in the dark either!

I think that glitter is more trouble then it’s worth. No glitter eyeshadow, nails, or hair for me. No shiny bits of plastic sparkling unexpectedly from the floor months (nay years) later. No pixie fairy dust at my house folks! I like my fey more traditional than that.

Want a quick way to clean-up glitter – try this.

But, oh some days – days when the sun creates rainbows in gas filled puddles or days when the crisp, blinding snow sparkles. Days when skulls need glitter and cats creep below an orange pumpkin moon. Then, I long for glitter.

Glitter as bright and shiny as the two nail art creations that follow.

Glitter with ghosts…

vis-a-vis Lucy's Stash

Vis-a-vis Lucy’s Stash
Click on to be redirected to the instructions…

Or oh my this … inspired by my eldest sister’s favourite Halloween candy.

Candy Corn glitter…


Vis-a-vis Black Nails
Click on to be redirected to the instructions…

Glitter for my nails and glitter for my hair and glitter for my eyes.

Damn the mess and full speed ahead!

“On the morning in question, she wore white shorts and a pink T-shirt that featured a green dragon breathing a fire of orange glitter. It is difficult to explain how awesome I found this T-shirt at the time.” -John Green

Permalink 1 Comment

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles

July 7, 2013 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Yesterday, I went for a walk in the rain. I walk seven days a week – it’s usually Sunday I take off. I was safely enclosed within in my bubble umbrella with its clear sides and tiger spots. I felt like a Dr. Seuss character. I wanted the rain to be falling in colour – red, yellow, green, blue, aquamarine, emerald, vermillion, lilac – staining the clear dome of my umbrella with bright splashes of wishes and hopes. .


I was a jungle character from Horton’s world or a city character braving the rain to visit the zoo. But not, never ever, leaving the children alone with a cat in a hat!


The rain went pit pat on the dome of my umbrella. The rain went whoosh. The rain fell and poured and dripped all morning long. It wasn’t a cold rain. It wasn’t a warm rain. It was a just right rain quenching the earth after a week of TOO HOT and answering the planter’s wishes.

The rain made me want to create patterns. The rain made me wish for a giant brush to sweep rainbows into the ground with. The rain made me want to be melancholy and sad knowing that the sadness would disappear with the rain when the sun came out. The rain made me wish for a enclosed porch and a big, comfy chair to read a book in (and then, as if on a whim, hold the book down to spend the afternoon daydreaming instead). I wanted to be five and unafraid to jump in the puddles and set twigs a-sail like I use too.

I wanted to blow bubbles into the rain and take pictures of them. But it’s not something you can do alone – this is a two person job (at least): there must be someone to blow the bubbles and someone to take pictures of the bubbles and someone to chase the bubbles. Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles! Bubbles in the rain. Bubbles on a sunny day. Fall bubbles. Winter bubbles. A year’s worth of bubble pictures cavorting and tumbling and dreaming of wind.

I’ve had this link bookmarked forever because I think it would be interesting to try and create and photograph frozen, icy bubbles.

It’s not the rain that gets me down. It’s day after day after day of TOO HOT and being inside hibernating because my body handles the heat worse than winter’s icy chill! I want to be out enjoying the longer days and quiet nights but oh the heat, heat, heat (says the Dr. Seuss character – picture her falling back in a faint as she says this).


Picture this – a teenager sitting on her front step blowing bubbles for a five year old to chase (and laughing, try to catch). The five year old has six older brothers and the eldest is in the teenager’s class. But boys so seldom have the inclination to create bubbles for a pesky, little sister to chase and catch. While teenage girls, who dream too much and still believe in wishes, have all the time in the world (or so it seems when one is young)!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »