Monday, December 31, 2012

Succinctly yours: offend

At Grandma's Goulash, a group of microfiction fans participate weekly in Succinctly Yours, microfiction with a maximum. The rules are: use Grandma's posted photo as a prompt for a short story of 140 words, or a short-short story of 140 characters including spaces and punctuation.
Many of us like to include the word of the week, chosen by Grandma's daughter Calico before she sees the photo. This week's word is offend. I have used it despite the never-changing fact that its use wins me no prizes except my own satisfaction.

Photo provided as prompt

She wondered if he'd worn his awful false nose in order to offend her. She tried to smile as he toasted the new year, but smirked instead.
(139 characters including punctuation and spaces)

For Real Toads: the cusp of the years

In our writing community, the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, we have a time warp. For some of our members, it is already 2013, while here, as I write this, it isn't yet sunset on the last day of 2012. Some of us are asleep already, some of us partying, and some of us still wondering what to do this evening.
where in the world are you
what in the world are you doing
is it today where you are?
or tomorrow?
or any day?
what year is this?
it cannot be
13 years into
the 21st century.
oh, no,
I remember
the midpoint 
of the 20th century.
I remember
Canadian confederation.
I remember
the first Sputnik,
and the Americans
putting a man on the moon.
where in the world am I
Kay L. Davies, December 31, 2012

Posted for Open Link Monday
at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Sunday, December 30, 2012

For Real Toads: Sunday mini-challenge

Robert Herrick
Wikipedia photo

For the last Sunday mini-challenge of the year at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, our Kerry has introduced to us the work of poet Robert Herrick and his variation in the line lengths of last week's Common or Hymnal Measure.

I'm having one of those days wherein I can't take very much very seriously, and find myself addressing my submission to Kerry herself, 'way over there in South Africa, from whence she attempts to educate the ineducable, such as I, to write something that doesn't sound like Rudyard Kipling or Robert W. Service.

I submit hereby a plea on behalf of all humorous essayists who attempt, and fail, to versify seriously, so that hymnists everywhere might forgive us for adding extra two-syllable lines here and there, etcetera.

dear poetess, we smile to see
you varying the form
as Herrick did so long ago
to take it from the norm,
Wikipedia photo
but wait!
two syllables do not 
a full
line make
nor does my rhyme fit in
the form
we make for Herrick’s sake
we take our inspiration from
the model you provided
and hope that we will find ourselves
praised and not derided
but haste!
we must the deadline make:
will be
Monday, ere my wee rhyme
can be read by you o’er there
in South African time

Pet Pride: Lindy likes snow best

Richard Schear photo, December, 2012
When Lindy was walking with her daddy earlier this month, there wasn't very much snow on the ground, not like now, with snow everywhere. So, if Lindy wanted to lie down in the snow, she had to pick her spot. Not for her the dry winter grass, or the warmer red shale path...she loves snow!

Posted for Pet Pride, hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo
and his family at their Pets Forever blog in Mumbai, India.

Lindy says, "We have lots of snow now, Bozo, and I have been outside rolling in it, and barking at my dog friends across the back lane. It's so much fun. Now I have to have a nap, so maybe I'll dream something interesting, too."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Real Toads: year-end words with Laurie

Over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Laurie has given us the list of words she used in for "A Word with Laurie" in 2012. We're invited to use any or all of the words in a new poem.
Here's what came to me when I looked at the list. I'm not sure if this can be called three short poems, or one longer poem.


ethereal bride
her veil an effervescence
no brighter
than her smile

I watched my parents
cross the line,
that demarcation line
daily life and
it was the hardest thing
I’ve ever done:
accepting my helplessness
in the face of theirs

in dreams I’m caught
in turgid mud
then comes the flood
of tears to wash
the mud away

yet, when I
wake up, I find
the tears are real
the mud was not—
in what emotion
was I caught?

These are the words I used from Laurie's list.

Camera Critters: nope, they're not here

Many years ago, my young brother and I went to Australia. Last month my husband and I were in Austria, and I saw this T-shirt in a store window. No, I didn't buy one for my brother, because it was getting dark and we were hurrying, but I did send him this is, after all, the thought that counts.

Posted for
Camera Critters
hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!
See other critters HERE!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Weekend Reflection: Wurzburg

Richard Schear photo, November, 2012

Wurzburg, where my husband captured this fountain reflection, is in the Northern Bavaria part of Germany, situated on the Main (pronounced "mine") River, which we travelled on our way from the Rhine to the Danube last month while on a river holiday with Viking River Cruises.

I'm posting it today for
Weekend Reflections
hosted by that other world-traveller, James. Thanks, James!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sky Watch Friday: pale blue behind snow

The trees in our neighborhood are wearing their snowy blankets in front of a pale blue sky this week.

tall trees
snowy trees
pale blue sky above
neighbor's yard
is brightened by
colored toys 
Photos by
Richard Schear
December, 2012

Posted for

Monday, December 24, 2012

Our World Tuesday: Christmas snow

Wishing everyone in our world the very best for the rest of 2012 and in the coming year.
—Kay and Richard and Lindy

 Posted for Our World Tuesday
Photos by Richard Schear, December, 2012, southeastern Alberta, Canada

A special tree, photo by Christian Sasse

A tree decorated with Eagles near Harrison Mills, BC.
Photo by fabulous outdoor photographer
Christian Sasse
See Christian's photos on Facebook!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Succinctly (and sincerely) Yours

Continuing in the tradition of Monday's Succinctly Yours microfiction, we have a special photo prompt for this week, and the word of the week, chosen by someone who hasn't seen the picture, is "neutral"!

The secret of Succinctly Yours is for participants to look at the picture and write a story about it...a short story of 140 words or less, or a short-short story of 140 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation.

I usually submit only one 140-character story, but for the festive season I have chosen a multiple option, one of which uses the word of the week.

1. Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas! (28 characters including spaces and punctuation) 77 total

2. ¡Feliz Navidad! (15 characters, for those who speak Spanish) 60 total

3. Joyeux Noel! (12 characters, for those who speak French) 56 total

4. Season's Greetings! (for those who prefer a neutral approach) 61 total

And to all, a Good Night!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pet Pride: nope, not Lindy's fault

No, Lindy, you didn't do it. You didn't kill Mom's plant. I think she forgot to water it, that's what happened. Or maybe watered it too much, but that's actually rather hard to do to a fern.

Photos by Kay Davies
Posted for Pet Pride which is hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo,
and his family at their Pets Forever blog in Mumbai, India.

Lindy says, "Hi, Bozo, when I saw this plant looking so sad, I thought I might have bitten it, because I love vegetables. But no, it doesn't look dog-bitten, it looks misbegotten and forgotten. So sad."

Sunday mini-challenge for Real Toads

Kerry has given us a Christmas challenge for this weekend at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.
She has provided four lovely photos by Real Toads stars Teresa Perin, Ellen Wilson, Margaret Bednar, and Isadora Gruye.
In addition, Kerry has suggested the Common or Hymnal octave form, but more about that later.
First is Izy's photo, which answers a childhood question: do angels have shadows?
Then, a poem not in one of the forms suggested by Kerry, but a poem which sprang from my one creative brain cell fully formed at the sight of Izy's picture. It is a uniquely 2012 Christmas poem.
(The answer to the question: yes, angels have shadows, but ghosts don't.)

Isadora Gruye photo, copyright

bright shining, cold morning, yon star
shy shepherds, sweet angels, afar

was the world ready
such gifts to receive?
or were men waiting
the poor to deceive?

how has the world used them, these gifts?
in all our communities—rifts!

To get back to Kerry's suggested octaves, which are as follows:

Kay L. Davies photo
Common Octave

x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x x x c
x x x x b
x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x x x c
x x x x b

Hymnal Octave

x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x x x a
x x x x b                                                                                                        

So, I figured out this much: First line: 8 syllables, stress on every second syllable, as in: O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum.
Second line, six syllables, however, thereby ending the similarity to O Tannenbaum, except every second syllable is still to be accentuated.

And, obviously, the two octaves are misnamed, because the "common" one is definitely more complicated than the "hymnal" one, containing, as it does, a C  rhyme, so I ignored commonality altogether, invented my own word with which to start, and came up with:

Kay L. Davies photo
Festivily 'round bright green tree
our Christmas colors shine
highlighting love 'tween dog and we
throughout this wondrous rhyme.
Because we have the family
invited here to dine,
we must clean up all our debris
from some more canine times.

And the reason? Our dog Lindy, of course, plus the fact that we watched the 2008 movie Marley and Me on TV last night. We laughed and we cried and we cuddled Lindy as much as we could.
And nobody is coming here for Christmas dinner. Whew! I'm so relieved! The last two turkeys I cooked were less than successful.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Musical prompt: Bing, Bowie, peace

Marian's musical prompt this weekend at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads features a beautiful duet with Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing about that elusive dream, that illusive thought: Peace on Earth.

I can only respond to the prompt in the simplest of words and phrases, so that my words might reach out across all boundaries, to reach all peoples.

Public domain image, cropped

will there be
can there be
peace for you
peace for me?
will we see
an end to war
when poverty
will kill no more?

photos of starving children
should end gluttony

photos of happy children
should make us all smile

will there be
can there be
will we see
an end to hate?
not bigotry?

Kay L. Davies, 2012

Budapest reflections through time

Photos by Richard Schear, 2012
Posted for
hosted by James,
wherever he is.
Thanks, James!

Budapest at night is a glorious sight to behold, while, during the day, even in cloudy, foggy weather, windows in heritage buildings reflect the daily activity of this wonderful Hungarian city.
The castle, above, the legislature building and bridge, below, are always favorite subjects for photos, especially at night when the lights reflect on the River Danube.

My intrepid photographer, however, caught a reflection in the gold color of these astonishingly high-heeled shoes in a Budapest store window.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Skywatch Friday: sun on trees

Kay Davies photo, December, 2012

Several times every winter, when I see the lowering sun shining on the bare trees across the way, I just have to grab my little camera to try to capture some of that wonderful warm light.
They're always the same trees, of course, the ones I can see from the window by my computer desk that make me think "Ooh, picture!" and the same ones I can see from the porch when I run out in slippered feet to snap a shot.
So here we are, in southeastern Alberta, where the big prairie sky is full of surprises. Today it is sunshine again, as it was the day I took this picture. The temperature is hovering right around the freezing mark right now, and the dog has been outside rolling in the snow. All's right with our world.

Posted for
Skywatch Friday

A pastiche for the Imaginary Garden

Over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Kerry asked us to write a pastiche poem, and provided us with the following definition:

pastiche [pa-steesh, pah-]
1. a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources.
2. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc. taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

I, of course, translated that to mean an incongruous hodgepodge, what else?

Kay Davies photo, December, 2012

what does it take to make such trees?
imagination, greens and cheese;
thought and planning, then more thought,
before we’d see what thought had wrought
a cheese ball’s what I planned at first
but, having neither ham nor wurst,
I thought I’d be a bit creative:
to shape a tree — one that is native
to BC’s coast where I was born (early one December morn)


The most incongruous part of the whole project is that I dreamt, even for one moment, that this looks like a tree, Douglas Fir or otherwise.
Then again, there's the part wherein I imagine any of my friends will want to dip a cracker into the above mixture this evening, then voluntarily eat it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our World Tuesday was Bratislava one day

On one of the final days of our Grand European Tour with Viking River Cruises last month, I felt well enough for a bus tour to the castle in Bratislava, Slovakia, with my intrepid photographer.

After we saw the castle (parts of which were old although much was rebuilt in the Soviet era) and also many newer buildings in the city, Dick and most other passengers stayed in downtown Bratislava to explore.

The 5 areas above were fascinating to see, and I'm glad I was able to go. Dick took the next 5 photos, right, and below, after the tour bus returned me to the Viking Danube.

It's unfortunate I felt unwell on our holiday last month, but I picked an excellent place to be under the weather, with all meals provided for us, and coffee, tea, and snacks in the Viking Lounge all day.
Photos by Richard Schear
November, 2012

Fun, and perhaps helpful

Writers, here's something we can use
(I know I can, anyway).

Margaret Duarte, at Enter the Between, has posted about the "blah-blah meter" which will gauge the level of unnecessariness (i.e. BS) in a paragraph or two of our writing.

It's fun, it's entertaining,
and might be very, very useful.

A recent post of mine registered 0.15, which is much better than 15.0, but not as good as the piece Margaret entered, which only registered 0.08.

I'm contemplating entering
something from the earliest bits of my blog: the first chapters of my work-stalled-in-progress, An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel.

Maybe I'll learn something from it.
Maybe it will hurt my feelings.
Maybe it will increase my sellability.
Maybe it will make me cry.

Who's game to give it a try?

Check out what Margaret says about it, HERE.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Truck on a country road

Andy Magee photo
It's been a while since I've posted anything for "The Mag" (formerly Magpie Tales) but the prompt photo, by Andy Magee, suddenly said something to me today. It spoke in prose, not poetry, so here goes...for The Mag.
Also posted for Open Link Monday at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Kathryn had always wanted a truck. A yellow one, she thought, for visibility in bad weather.
The weather was certainly bad enough the day she finally bought her truck. It was red, supposedly a safe color because fire engines were red, but mostly because a yellow truck wasn’t in stock.
She drove it home through the fog, the drizzle, and the high, high winds. Neither the berm, nor the hedges, nor the winter-bare trees provided protection for the open back of the truck where she carried building supplies, but at least she’d had everything well wrapped.
Kathryn smiled as she saw the shabby old fence. It would be one of her restoration projects soon, but the house came first.
Her husband never understood why she wanted to fix up the house and property.
“No one ever comes here anyway,” he always said. “It all looks okay to me.”
And, “I don’t see why we need a truck. My car does fine.”
“Fine,” she thought, shaking her head as she drove the truck down the little hill, where she could see tracks in the grass beside their road, tracks made by the car doing “fine” on an icy day recently.
“I’ll show him fine,” she laughed. “It’s a good thing I got a winch on the front of the truck, too, because you never know when you might need to pull something out...a tree out of the ground, a car out of a ditch...”
And she laughed again as she passed her husband’s car, in the ditch beside the road, where it had been for almost a week. He’d had to walk home in the ice and snow, and he’d had to eat humble pie once he reached the house.
“Maybe we really should get a truck,” he mumbled as he stood by the fireplace, trying to get warm.
“Oh, there’s no rush,” Kathryn had replied.
It was almost a week before someone came to the house: a delivery van with a box of brochures her husband had ordered. He was out walking the dog when Kathryn hitched a ride to town in the delivery van.
“I’ll pull his car out tomorrow,” she said to herself. “That will make him happy. But I wonder why he left the window open on the driver’s side. That seat is going to be awfully wet by now.”
Kay L. Davies, December, 2012

Succinctly Yours: undeniable

On her Grandma's Goulash blog, Grandma hosts a meme called Succinctly Yours.
She asks us to look at the photo she has posted, and write a short story about it, using 140 words or less, or a short-short story using 140 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation.
If they like, participants can include the word of the week. There's no prize or even a pat on the back for using it, but there is that inner glow that comes with accomplishment. Especially when the word is a long one, as it is this week: it is undeniable. I mean, the word of the week is "undeniable" and it takes up 10 of my 109 characters, including spaces and punctuation.

Picture supplied as prompt

Well, Martha, it's undeniable. All we have to do is hold Junior up like this, and he can see Santa from here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pet Pride: Lindy's cousin Jasper

Lindy says: Hi, Bozo, here's a picture my mom took in the summertime. It's of my cousin Jasper, who is the Senior Dog in my family. He's 12 years old! Here he is guarding my people-cousins at their grandma's house on an island in British Columbia. I don't think I've ever been to British Columbia, and I'm not sure what an "island" is, but my mom and dad say maybe we can go to BC next year. I think that would be fun. I'd like to meet Jasper and my people-cousins.

Posted for Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family
at their Pets Forever blog in Mumbai, India.

Photos by Kay Davies, 2012

Doll story, for Margaret at Real Toads

Margaret, at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, has posted a second series of photos of dolls made by her daughter and fellow art classmates, to act as inspiration for the Sunday mini-challenge for Real Toads members and contributors.
I've chosen two pictures from this weekend's group, the first by Austin Cassie, and the second by Isabelle Rolles. The interpretation is mine, and does not represent the thoughts of the artists who made the dolls nor of Margaret who photographed them.

'ere, 'ere, wot's this?
wot's this, then?
a spot o' trouble, is it?
doncher know
we can't 'ave that?
no, we can't 'ave that 'ere,
it just won't do,
it simply won't do,
anuvver word outer you
an' Ill 'ave yer
in the nick, then,
yes, I will.
wot's that?
a body?
you found a body?
be'ind wot?
be'ind there?
oh, no, this won't do,

oh, it is a body, then,

yer right,
and yer say it's
nuffink ter do wiv you?
(blows whistle)

well, then, when me mates
'ave arrived,
we'll see about that,
an' we'll 'ave ter
'ave yer down to The Yard
fer pertick'lers, like,
yes, we will,
fer pertick'lers,
in case y've seen summat,
summat yer dunno y've seen

becos it just won't do,
it simply won't do.

Camera Critters created for Christmas?

Richard Schear photo, November, 2012
European craftsmen had fun making these critters for tourists' cameras. The cat on the left is my favorite, and the snowman brings a Christmassy feel to the group, but I think the vultures are hilarious.
My intrepid photographer captured this shot in the town of Melk, Austria, which is best known for its beautiful Benedictine monastery.

Posted for the
Camera Critters
meme, hosted every week by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekend Reflections: big birds in Europe

We didn't see many small birds on this year's European tour with Viking River Cruises, but we did see quite a few ducks, geese, and swans. Unfortunately, there were no sightings of the largest European bird of all: the stork. I would have loved to see a stork!
Here, in Melk, Austria, when the water isn't being disturbed even slightly by swimming swans, a goose and some ducks can be reflected.

Richard Schear photos, November, 2012
Posted for
Weekend Reflections
posted by that other world traveller, James, wherever he may be.
Thanks, James!