Monday, October 31, 2011

Our World Tuesday: whether there's weather

It is All Hallows Eve here in North America, and the sun is trying to break through the clouds, the same clouds from which we just had a sleety mix of rain and snow, to make life interesting for Hallowe'en Trick-or-Treaters. We really have no idea what the weather will be tonight.
For Our World Tuesday, here are some photos from the last couple of evenings. Our darlin' dog Lindy spotted this deer on the street and she was so excited, pulling on her leash, Dick had a hard time getting clear shots of it. Please don't try to enlarge these two pictures, they'll make your eyes go funny.
My favorite is the last photo, of a sunflower's dying days.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Unfittie Redux

In comments on my blog, one or two people have, politely, said they're looking forward to reading my book "when it comes out".
Like a debutante in an old-fashioned romance novel, whose parents haven't enough money for all those dresses and matching shoes, An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel might never come out, so I thought I'd let it out here, a bit at a time, for those of you who don't want to go back to the beginning of my blog in 2009 to check it out.
Yes, writing a book can be a long process, especially for an unfittie.

Okay, so you’re not as young as you used to be. You have pains in places where you didn’t used to have places, and you suspect your weight in pounds far exceeds your height in centimeters, although you’ve never been mathematically inclined and never mastered the metric system.
The math part won’t matter anyway, unless you want to explore countries where everything is metric.
It doesn’t dawn on you right away—you’re not the quick study you once were—but life, as you’ve grown to know it, is over.
This is a true story. It more or less has a beginning and an end, but it isn’t a novel and it doesn’t have a plot. It happened to me.
“There are penguins in the Galapagos Islands,” said Dick.
We’ve been traveling ever since.

Regret is something we all want to live without, isn’t it? Disappointment we can handle; pain and sorrow await us all; but regret is something we can avoid by the way we respond to life’s opportunities.
I want to share my hard-won knowledge with you. Not because my way will be perfect for all unfitties of all genders, but because it worked for me—sometimes well, and sometimes, well, not so well.
And it’s been fun.
Perhaps you’ve never really accepted being less than completely fit. Maybe your mental image of yourself is from an earlier time, when you felt ten feet tall and bulletproof.
A year later, when traveling with (my brother and) a friend in Queensland, Australia, I tried to run, tripped over a tree root, fell flat on my face, and decided enough was enough.

Succinctly Yours: eerie

Every week, a picture is posted on the blog, Grandma's Goulash, to prompt us to write a short (140 words) or short-short story (140 characters including spaces and punctuation) about it.
If we can use the word of the week, it's up to us, there aren't any extra points. The word is selected by Grandma's daughter before seeing the picture. The word this week is eerie, appropriately enough.

Photo supplied by Grandma's Goulash
You have a white pumpkin for a head, and I have a plastic balloon. And you have bones, but I don't. Isn't it eerie how we eat the same food?

140 characters, including punctuation and spaces.

Posted for
Succinctly Yours
hosted by Grandma's Goulash.

Mellow Yellows in Quito, Ecuador

Beautiful traditional Ecuadorian costumes at the Ballet Foklorico in Quito.

Everyone gathered to celebrate the founding of the city of Quito.
These photos were taken by my husband, Richard Schear, during our visits to Quito on our way to and from the Galapagos Islands in November and December, 2006. This trip was really the start of The Unfittie's Adventurous Travels abroad, as mentioned in the early posts on this blog.

Posted for
Mellow Yellow Monday,
hosted each week by Drowsey Monkey. Thanks, Drowsey!
To see other mellow yellows from near and far, please click  HERE!

Happy Hallowe'en, everyone!

This house had a window wearing a pumpkin picture, reflecting the sunset. The photo is by my husband, Richard Schear, on his walk with our dog Lindy.

His photo below shows an orange arch over the setting sun the same evening.

Wishing everyone a
from the three of us to all of you!


For Magpie, and for Real Toads Mini-Challenge

Photo prompt from Magpie Tales

Using the photo prompt from Willow Manor for tomorrow's Magpie Tales, plus the 19-line 38-syllable Waltz Wave poetry form suggested in Kerry's Sunday mini-challenge at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, I submit this, the title of which might possibly be longer than the entire poem.

Irrefutable Evidence
Proving the No-Pain-No-Gain Theory to be Invalid

my muses
are worse —
throw ink
on the wall
in my fury!
No verses
will come.
am numb,
stricken dumb!
In my
there's no

Posted for

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pet Pride: Lindy and the leaves

Lindy's friend Bozo and his family in far-away Mumbai, India, host "Pet Pride" on their Pets Forever blog, and Lindy always likes to put in an appearance.

"Hi, Bozo!" says Lindy. "I'm sure sorry you're having lots of fireworks for your country's celebration. I don't like them, either, but they're not as bad as thunder storms. I hate thunder storms.
Hey, Bozo, to take your mind off the fireworks, look at this — can you tell from the the first picture, taken last year, and the next one, taken this year, that I've lost weight? Well, I have!"

© Photos by Kay Davies and Richard Schear

Posted for
Pet Pride/Pets Forever
To see other pets as their owners see them, please click

Shadow Shot Sunday: baseball shadows

No, we didn't have tickets for the World Series, but we did have them for the first World Baseball Classic played in San Diego, California, in 2006.

This photo at Petco Park has enough shadows for several baseball games.

Posted for Shadow Shot Sunday
hosted by Tracy in Brisbane at her Hey Harriet! blog.
To see other shadows shot around the world, please click  HERE!

Camera Critters with their patch of blue

Hey, where is everybody? I wanna get this party started!
© Photo by Richard Schear

Magpies. They make me laugh. They are beautiful birds whose behavior doesn't live up to the promise of their bright white, glossy black and gleaming, flashing blue feathers. They are considered a real nuisance here on the Canadian prairie, and their reputation as thieves is far from unfounded. They will take anything that isn't nailed down, if they like the look of it. They prefer food first, but they also love anything that glitters even if it isn't gold.

Posted for Misty Dawn's Camera Critters. Thanks, Misty!
To see other critters captured on other cameras, please click  HERE!

Friday, October 28, 2011

With Real Toads: Autumn Barn

Kerry, of the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, has given us this photo to use as an open prompt. She has suggested no word limit, no verse form, no style of any sort. We should look at the picture Autumn Barn and write what it suggests to us.
Am I going to take this seriously? With no instructions? With no limits imposed upon me? No discipline? No discussion? ¿No nada?
¡No way, Jose! I'm gonna have fun.

Photo provided as prompt

Look at that thing, said Granny.
Look at what thing? asked Gramps.
That thing beside the old barn there,
It's giving me the cramps!
Look what it's done, the awful thing,
It's knocking the barn for a loop.
It makes the wind blow so dam'd hard
There's nothing much left of the roof.
The siding's falling off it, too.
And it's leaning on three corners!
If you don't get rid of that thing,
I swear we'll soon be goners.
What thing? Gramps asked Granny again,
Do you mean the wind turbine?
Yes, that awful thing of yours,
'Cause it sure as hell ain't mine—
It makes the wind just blow and blow,
The barn's got nowhere to hide.
Soon it'll fall right into the crop,
Take the horse along for the ride.
Then you and I will follow next,
Be blown right into the air,
Like trailer parks in Kansas,
You and me won't be nowhere.
Wind turbines don't cause wind, said Gramps,
They use the wind that's there
And turn it into 'lectric volts
For all of us to share.
'Lectric? Granny yelled at him,
Electric, did you say?
This thing causes lightning, too?
I'm gone! Get outta my way!
Now Granny's in the seniors' home
With meds, and folks who "care"
And Grandpa's pulled the old barn down,
First taking the horse out of there.
Each day before he goes to town
He looks out at the wind turbine
And wonders who had it installed.
'Cause it sure as hell ain't mine.

Posted for
Friday Picture Prompt
at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
To see how the photo inspired other writer-bloggers, please click

Weekend Reflections: spooky reflection in Russia

© Photo by Richard Schear

I'm using a photo my husband took on our summer vacation, because it's slightly scary as befits this time of year. Here, the sunset is reflected in the window of a ruined building as the Viking Surkov sailed from Kizhi to Kuzino during our August holiday with Viking River Cruises.

Posted for Weekend Reflections
hosted by James in California. Thanks, James!
To see other reflections by other photo-bloggers, please click  HERE!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Blurb Friday: stained glass window

Each week, Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff, posts a photo (this week by the talented young photographer Ashley Ortiz) to serve as inspiration to writer-bloggers.

We are invited to imagine the photo as the front cover of a book, and to then write a maximum 150-word "blurb" for the back cover, to convince browsers to become buyers immediately.

Here is my 130-word contribution to
To see how the photo inspired other writer-bloggers, please click

130 words, not including title

The Sunday a.m. Detectives
by Yvonne Roberts

The parishioners at Gordon Memorial had contributed to the stained-glass-window fund for years, and the last window had finally been installed. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and another sigh, too — this one of delight.
The pleasure and relief were short-lived, however, when the rash of window vandalism began in their small town. Slowly but relentlessly, the vandalism was headed toward the church. Would it continue until it reached the beautiful stained glass for which the people had worked so hard?
Pastor Bill Blayne decided to take matters into his own hands, his and the hands of the senior Sunday School class.
Find out what they planned to do, what they eventually did do, and what happened after that, in this, the newest novel by Yvonne Roberts.

SkyWatch Friday: October moon

Everyone else posted their wonderful moon shots earlier this month. A day late and a dollar short, but in case you missed all the others, here it is...October moon as seen by my intrepid photographer and husband, Richard Schear.

Posted for
SkyWatch Friday
the meme for people with their heads in the clouds, or the treetops.
To see other skies from around the world, please click  HERE!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thursday Theme Song: Oh, you...

Dick has been singing this song to Lindy for a while now, and I managed to find it on YouTube being played on the instrument I most like to play: a player piano!

This song dates back to 1911 and was played by the orchestra on the Titanic.

I've tweaked the lyrics to meet dog-walking requirements.

Oh, you beautiful dog,
You great big beautiful dog!

Let me put your leash upon you,
I don't want to walk without you.

If you ever pull me,
How my arms would ache.
I want to slow you
But I have no brake.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,
Great big beautiful dog!

© Photos by Kay Davies
Posted for Hootin' Anni's musical meme
Thursday Theme Song
To see what songs inspired other bloggers, please click  HERE!

Cywydd Llosgyrnog verse form for Real Toads

I have to thank Jinksy (and her dentist) for reminding me Grace’s featured Welsh poetic form, Cywydd Llosgyrnog, for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, need not be taken as seriously as I attempted to take it.
I seemed to do fine with Grace’s previous Welsh writing challenge, the Awdl Gywydd, but I really struggled with the addition of more lines per stanza, until I finally stopped taking it, and myself, so seriously.
I also have to thank the writers’ group, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, for accepting me into their writing challenges even though I’m not a member of their group. I enjoy this site...a lot!

So...Grace’s challenge yesterday was the Cywydd Llosgyrnog (easy for her to say) which uses sestets with eight beats to each line.

Richard Schear, photo

The rhyme pattern is:

Here is my submission:


This is my seven hundredth post.
Lucky Real Toads — you get to host
The very most difficult thing
I tried to do in October
(’Cause I tried to keep it sober.)
Now that’s over, I’ll let it sing —
The way it wants to do, and then,
I should not have more problems when
My keyboard or pen will ponder:
Serious subjects, like love, grief,
Pain, rain, Spain’s plain, train, or belief,
All in brief stanzas, like Yonder
Is flying our new speckled goose.
I wonder now how she got loose,
It’s goose abuse how she was ripped
Out of the goose pen, off to fly,
Away from us, up in the sky.
The goose guy said her wings were clipped!
Photo by Mr. Google
So ponder this: we have been gypped,
Our Christmas dinner has been stripped
Of gravy sipped with goose stuffing
Made with fresh rosemary and thyme.
We’re victims of a seller’s crime!
A sad time, this, my stanzas ring!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Watery Wednesday: parties with water

One of the things I miss most about the west coast of British Columbia is my family. My brothers, nieces, nephews and the children often get together for an afternoon of fun, usually involving some sort of water, whether it's a pool, a river, or an ocean.
Then they send me photos of the "having a wonderful time, wish you were here" variety!
© Maria Davies photos
These photos were all, as far as I know, taken by my sister-in-law Maria, the first two at a pool in Langley, BC, where she and my brother Clint live; the third at Derby Reach, a popular fishing spot on the mighty Fraser River; and the final one in Vancouver during the Olympic celebrations in Feburary, 2010. (I don't know the people in the last photo, but the rock statues are called Inukshuks.)

Posted for
Watery Wednesday
hosted every week by 2sweetnsaxy! Thanks, 2.
For other water-filled photos from around the world, please click  HERE!

Monday, October 24, 2011

O is for Okanagan fires and our smoke

Forest fires, often caused by lightning and often by human error, seem to happen all too often in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, where I grew up.

In the summer of 2010, west winds blew smoke from an Okanagan Valley fire, more than halfway across BC, over many mountains and large lakes, such as the Arrow Lakes and Kootenay Lake, over the Rocky Mountains and most of the way across Alberta, to our home near the city of Medicine Hat, and probably farther.

Kelowna, which was a small Okanagan city when I was going to school, is a sprawling city now.
Wikimedia photo
The month of May was beautiful when we visited the Okanagan Valley.
By summer, only farms and orchards are green.
Smoke hovering over the coulee near our house where Dick and Lindy go walking.

I was worried about Lindy's breathing, and my own, and then I worried about these horses.
I have no idea who owns them, but they were out there, in the smoke, day and night.

Colorful sunsets are the only good thing about smoke in the air. (Too much loss for too little gain.)
© Richard Schear photos

Out of curiosity, I did some calculating. If the smoke were traveling by car, its shortest route from Kelowna to our neighborhood would be 889 kilometres or 553 miles, on Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway. It would have to cross the Rockies through places such as Banff and Lake Louise, where some of the mountains are 2900m to 3500m high (9700 to 11,600 feet). The southern route, 1012km or 628 miles, crosses the Rockies at the Crowsnest Pass, and takes much longer to drive (we're still supposing the smoke is traveling by car) because the mountain roads bend and twist a great deal more.

As smoke from forest fires travels through the lower atmosphere on the wind, and not by car, chances are it did cross the Arrow Lakes, drifted over Valhalla Provincial Park, across Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Wilderness Provincial Park, crossing the border into Alberta somewhere southeast of Elkford and northeast of Sparwood, BC, toward Claresholm, Alberta. Then, with no more mountains in its way, the smoke had an easy trip on our prevailing winds, which almost always blow from the west, right across to our town where Highway 1 heads into Medicine Hat.

Posted for the letter O
in Mrs. Nesbitt's alphabetical meme ABC Wednesday
To see how the letter O inspired other bloggers, please click  HERE!

Thinking: With Real Toads

Every now and then on my blog, I have photos or stories about my late parents. I tell about their eccentricities, and about how much I miss them. The pain has eased a lot, although I hope the memories never disappear. Our "illustrious ancestors" weren't perfect, but they were certainly a lot of fun.
Mother died in 2007, and Dad in 2009. They had been married for 61 years at the time of her death.
Shortly after Dad died, my young brother Rob, who is 21 years my junior, was driving me somewhere, and I was reminiscing. Our brother Clint is only 22 months younger than I am, so we share most of the same memories and a lot of the same ideas.
"You know, Rob," I said, "Clint and I were just saying the other day: we had the world's best dad."
Rob, almost a generation younger and raised pretty much as an only child, said, "You're right, we did."
This morning, before I checked in with the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, I was looking at one of my recent posts and noticed, at the bottom, under "You might also like" a photo of Mom on one of those little beep-beep granny scooters, so I clicked on it. I was still thinking about Mom when I realized today is Open Link Monday on Real Toads. What should I write about? How about the ancestors — I haven't said much about them lately.

about Mother,
today, ever, always
whistling, laughing, smiling, helping,
about Father,
always two together,
printer, writer, fishing, trav’ling,

Our World Tuesday: oh, deer!

Yes, the deer are back in "Lindy's coulee" — beside the red-stone walking path where Dick and Lindy go for their favorite walks. Dick has seen a few deer in the distance but now Lindy has seen some, too, and she's a very happy, very excited dog. How she'd love to slip her leash and gambol through the tall dry grass with her graceful acquaintances. I'm sure she'd love to be friends, but the deer don't know that. Maybe in a few years, the word will be handed down from doe to fawn:
You know that big yellow dog with the curls and the too-short legs? She wants to run with us. She'd never be able to catch up, of course, but she doesn't mean us any harm. We've known her for years.

© Photos by Richard Schear
Posted for Our World Tuesday
a second-generation meme dedicated to the memory of Klaus Peter,
hosted by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy. Thanks, all of you.
To see other worlds in other parts of the planet, please click  HERE!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mellow Yellows: here, there, away

Yellow sky at the coulee near our house. © Photo by Richard Schear while walking our dog Lindy.

Yellow tree contrasts with an evergreen at Fort McMurray, Alberta. © Richard Schear photo

Last but certainly not least, my brother Clint and his wife Maria saw this black bear during their recent visit to Whistler, BC, site of the 2010 Olympic skiing competitions and a reasonably short drive from their home in southwestern BC. Maria said the bear was "too close" for her liking. Later, just outside Whistler Creek, they saw another bear, lying on top of a pile of gravel at a construction site.
© Maria Davies, photo
Posted for
  Mellow Yellow Monday  
hosted every week by Drowsey Monkey. Thanks, Drowsey!

To see other yellows captured by other mellow photographers, please

Puente for Real Toads: poem with a bridge

Kerry's mini-challenge at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads involves a poetic form built around a bridge, or puente in Spanish.
A puente consists of three stanzas, with only one line in the second stanza, a line which applies to the first and third stanzas equally (indicated by enclosure in tildes), thus bridging two thoughts or subjects expressed in an equal number of lines, which need not be of equal length (as I understand it.)
Click on this Real Toads link to see the example Kerry provided.

Here is my submission:

There is a fringe where your world and mine
meet, merge, meld for a month or more.
Differences disappear, and the common ground seems solid.
We walk on this illusory rock confidently, comfortably,
tempted to take this temporary thing as truth.
~ The rock is a lie. ~

It consists of one thin layer
of your reality,
and one thin layer
of mine,
overlapping only in a dream.

Magpie Tales 88: city driving

This fabulous city photo is by Lee Friedlander, from America by Car,
posted as a prompt by Magpie Tales


City driving makes me crazy,
City driving drives me mad.
Round and round I go forever:
Can no parking place be had?
How I long for open spaces
Of a village or our town,
Easy parking just for banking,
Shopping's easy there, I've found.
So why am I in the city
Making turns to left and right?
I'm here 'cause my husband promised
He would take me out tonight.
Dinner first, a movie after,
Then back to our town we'll drive,
Him in front; and me, I'll follow
Like the best of driving wives.
Next time we two go for dinner,
Mere blocks from our home we'll be,
And, of course, to watch a movie,
We can do that on TV.
© Kay L. Davies, October, 2011

Posted for
Magpie Tales
hosted every week by Willow. Thanks! I enjoy this meme.
To see how Willow's photo prompt inspired other writer-bloggers, please

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Succinctly yours: ambivalent

Over at Grandma's Goulash, Grandma posts a photo as inspiration, and her daughter (without seeing the photo) provides a word of the week.
Then we are invited to take the two and try to weave them into a short story (140 words) or a microfiction story (140 characters including spaces and punctuation).

This week's word is ambivalent, and this unhappy, not very healthy pumpkin is to be our inspiration.
Wish us luck!

Mom was ambivalent about Hallowe'en this year because the children were sick. "This'll make them laugh. Looks just like them," said Dad.

136 characters, including punctuation and spaces, and the word of the week.

Posted for
Succinctly Yours
hosted every week by Grandma's Goulash.
To see how other writer-bloggers responded to the challenge, click  HERE!

Pet Pride: Lindy at Lake Louise

Hi! It's me. Lindy. Here I am at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. Isn't it a beautiful place? It's a perfect place for a beautiful dog, don't you think? I was here with my mom and our friend Mara, who came all the way from The Netherlands just to meet me. She had already met my mom and dad, but not me, so she had to spend a whole day, until midnight, flying across the Atlantic Ocean and across Canada, to see me and the Canadian province of Alberta. Lucky me, and lucky Alberta. Mara wants to move here, and we think she should.

Photo by Mara Jellema

Posted for
Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family in Mumbai, India.

Lindy says, "I'm glad you like birdwatching, Bozo. I watch the birds in my back yard. I don't know if we saw any in the mountains, because we were too busy looking at the wonderful scenery!"

To see other pets as their proud owners see them, please click  HERE!