Friday, January 31, 2014

Hannah introduces Bonn to Toads

For this week's Transforming Friday, Hannah's challenge to us at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads is to write about the city of Bonn, Germany, birthplace of Beethoven, where the night streets are still lit with gas, and where the largest thoroughfare is still the River Rhine.
Prompt photo

I've never been to Bonn, but I've spent a lot of time on the Rhine. We were on a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, but I seldom went ashore because I was very weak and unwell. Therefore, I spent a lot of time looking at the beautiful Rhine River.

It was a winter cruise, and, while other passengers were ashore visiting Germany's famous Christmas markets, I was observing life on the river.

rowing on the Rhine
is fine
of course
in winter time
Richard Schear photo
when the numbers
of the rowers
face a very sharp decline

the numbers drop
and rowers drop
when they are numb
from winter,
frosty winter,
frosty rowing
on the Rhine
Kay Davies, January, 2014

Twittering a tweet for Toads

when we have snow,
deer come
in twos and threes
to eat the fruit of our
ornamental crabapple tree,
but we love spring blossoms, 
and the deer
Kay Davies, January, 2014
140 characters including
spaces and punctuation

Posted for Mama Zen's tweet-length poem challenge
Thanks, MZ, it's good to be back, and great to have a small poem to write.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blue skies in the Semiahmoo Peninsula

Everyone talks about all the rain in Vancouver, BC. However, I used to live in the sunniest part of the Vancouver area, on the beautiful Semiahmoo Peninsula, home of two lovely communities: White Rock and South Surrey.
When I was visiting my family there recently, we saw a lot of fog, but when the fog dissipated, the skies were a bright, brilliant blue.
Just before I took this photo, a plane from the Vancouver International Airport passed between the sign on the left and the roof on the right, but my camera was set for close-ups, so the photo was completely blurry. By the time I changed the setting, the plane had disappeared to the east (or the right of the photo).

Posted for Skywatch Friday

Kay Davies photo, January, 2014

ABC Wednesday, beware the big C

Many words start with the letter C. I came home from the west coast of Canada yesterday, delighted to see the great job our son-in-law Wes, ably assisted by Dick's daughter Monica, had done with removing a room's worth of ugly old carpeting. They not only removed the carpet, they actually managed to level the floor, which sloped at a number of different angles in a number of different places. The new laminate flooring they installed is great.

Lindy, with ugly old carpet
New Lindy-coloured laminate flooring

Something is wrong with my camera!
It doesn't take much to make me cry these days, concerned as I am about a very sick member of my extended family in BC. He was up to receiving visits from elderly aunts on the weekend, and I'm so pleased I was able to see him, and to tell him how much I care, without getting soppy and silly.

However, when I took the flooring photos this morning, and discovered my camera has a problem, it was enough to tip me from loving care to actual crying, which I had been careful not to do in the hospital.

It is never easy for the older generation to watch awful things happening to the younger generation, but it is very easy for the older generation to be grateful for the skills and energy our younger family members possess.

To my family at the coast, I wish I could have stayed longer. To my family in Medicine Hat, thank you for the work you did while I was away.

Posted for ABC Wednesday

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

B is for British Columbia, and "bye"

I'm sure I've used the same title before, because I am a third-generation British Columbian now living in southeastern Alberta. With more than 4 million people, my British Columbia is Canada's third most populous province.

This month I received an online photo of Central Elementary School in Kelowna, British Columbia, where I attended Grade 6. The school celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.
Don Burnett, a well-known local gardener with a radio program, and a childhood friend of my brother Clint's, spoke about the school's birthday on his show last Saturday.
My friend Carola sent me an e-mail about Don's mention of it, just moments before my friend Gloria mentioned the school on Facebook.
Gloria and I grew up across the street from one another, but somehow managed to miss being in the same class except for the year we were in Grade 6 at Central Elementary. The next year, we were at Kelowna Junior High School, along with our friend Carola and many other students from outlying farming and orcharding areas, as well as those living in the city.
Central Elementary School, Kelowna, BC. File photo.
We were KJHS students when British Columbia celebrated its centenary as a British colony in 1958. All our male teachers grew beards, and various celebrations were held around the province.
In Kelowna, however, even centennial celebrations couldn't overshadow 1958's opening, by Princess Margaret, of the Okanagan Lake Bridge, from Kelowna to the west side of the lake.
Gone was the ferry we all remembered and in its place we had a floating bridge with a centre section which opened up to let large power boats and tall-masted sailboats under it. We thought it very exciting.
That bridge has since been replaced by a similar but larger one to accommodate the increased traffic.

1958 British Columbia Centennial
In 1858, the Colony of British Columbia was established by an Act of the British Parliament. At its creation, it physically constituted approximately half the present day province of British Columbia, since it did not include the Colony of Vancouver Island, the regions north of the Nass and Finlay Rivers, the regions east of the Rocky Mountains, or any of the coastal islands.

When British Columbia first became an official colony, its capital was established at Fort Langley, on the Fraser River. The capital was later moved downriver to New Westminster (where I was born, by the way, as was my father, and my mother's father) until BC's capital finally became established in the beautiful city of Victoria, on Vancouver Island.

I am also thinking about British Columbia this month because I'm flying out there tomorrow, hoping to be able to do whatever I can to help my family because one member is very sick. I'm not the most useful person these days, but I care very much, and am willing to do my part.
Whether I am able to post anything to my blog between tomorrow and next Wednesday depends upon computer availability because I'm traveling smallest suitcase, my CPAP machine, my largest handbag, and a cane will be all I can manage on my own.
While I'm gone, I expect wonderful flooring things to be happening in the dining room here, thanks to my husband, his youngest daughter, and our son-in-law.
Bye now!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Oh deer, it's Our World Tuesday

There's still quite a bit of snow around our yard, and a lot of ice on the roads where the snow has melted and then frozen, but over at the coulee where Dick and Lindy like to walk, the sun has melted most of the snow. The ground, unlike the roads, has absorbed the moisture, leaving the walking paths clear and the sun-brightened grasses available for grazing by the small herd of mule deer we call "Lindy's deer."


Photos by Richard Schear, January, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Open Link Monday for amphibians

Today doesn't feel like Monday, because so much has happened lately, and much more is about to happen, but it is Open Link time in the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, and my computer says "Mon" which is either Monday or someone Scottish.
Kerry included a wonderful photo with "photo credit: Shotaku via photopin cc" printed beneath it. I have taken the liberty of cropping the photo because the bottom corner of it inspired my little poem today. My apologies and also my thanks to the photographer.

photo credit: Shotaku via photopin cc

the tiny
came up
from the
of the pond,
broke through
the thin
layer of ice,
and found it
covered in snow.

my mama
never warned me
about this,
he complained,
but of course
my mama
never warned me
about anything
at all
Kay Davies, Monday, January 20, 2014                       


Friday, January 17, 2014

To two prompts in the imaginary garden

Richard Schear photo
we met on a voyage
from the top of the yew
all the way 
to a blue door
on the moon.

as the silence
grew murmurous
and leaping
candle flame
pierced the blackness,
I saw you touch
your knuckle
with your tongue,
then leave your garments
by the door.

There have been many things happening lately, some exciting and some heartbreaking. I was unable to respond to prompts in the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads until I considered Brendan’s list of Sylvia Plath’s words alongside Corey’s prompt about meeting people while traveling.
Of course we have met many wonderful people, some we still count as friends and probably always will, but no words could push pain away except writing more lists of things to do.
Suddenly, quite unexpectedly, the above poem came to me. It doesn’t cover any real travels, it doesn’t use my first-year-college Spanish, but it came, as I suppose it was meant to do, almost unbidden.

Evergreen trees against the sky

Evergreens always look lush and full, silhouetted against the sky as nicely in winter as in spring or summer.

Posted for Skywatch Friday

Kay Davies photo

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A is for Arizona

Dick and I have been to Arizona before — to Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona. But when considering a place we could reach by car, allowing us to travel with our dog Lindy, Arizona and New Mexico seemed like excellent destinations to consider. We haven't decided yet, but here are some photos from our previous visit to Arizona in 2006.

Posted for ABC Wednesday

Photos copyright Richard Schear and Kay Davies, 2006

Monday, January 13, 2014

Domestic difficulties in house, not garden

It's Open Link Monday again in the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. With no prompt or form to guide us, we are on our own, to choose subject, style and level of sincerity.
As I have occasionally been known to do, I've chosen to write a bit of nonsense verse, this time arising out of a visit with our very handy son-in-law and his family yesterday. I asked him to bring a level with him, and to give me his opinion of the floor whose carpet I want to replace with laminate.
He jumped up and down on it, and then...and then...he laughed at me. Or, rather, he laughed at my floor.
Colour of the dog (top)
and colour of the new
flooring (above).
The dining room will
be a struggle with its
ups and downs, but the 
living room is an addition
built on a concrete slab,
so we're hoping the new floor
will go down easier,
and be a lot more fun.
This narrative is all fact,
and is all true, as the
dining room floor is not.
(Yes, pun intended.)
my bucket’s got a hole in it,
my floor is fading fast—
don’t know if the timbers
that are holding it will last
some parts go up
and some go down
so in three places, maybe four
we can see it “crown”
several spots are spongy
and none of them are level
to install new flooring 
will be the very devil
but it’s coming in ten days
and we will try to handle it
with padded underlays
Kay Davies, January 13, 2014                                         

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Grace introduces us to Elisabetta

"necklace of pearls"
elisabetta trevisan
Elisabetta Trevisan is an Italian artist and illustrator, many of whose works are exquisite paintings of women.
Grace has asked us to write about one of these portraits today, and I was drawn to a painting called "necklace of pearls" but it didn't ignite what's left of my creativity, so I roamed happily through Elisabetta's works at redbubble until, suddenly, this little poem came to me.

"bumblebee" poster
by elisabetta trevisan

the humble tree
loves the bumblebee

for without it
the tree will die—

without pollination
so will creation

and I
Kay Davies, January 11, 2014

I may have taken a few liberties with scientific fact as to what kind of bees do what kind of pollination, etc., and the fact that a hollyhock isn't a tree, but poetic license and all know...

Other Elisabetta Trevisan posters that caught my eye were these two:

Elisabetta can also be found on Facebook.

Somehow, Lindy always knows

Lindy can always tell when I turn my camera on. So, today, when she was looking so cute sleeping on the floor, I took my camera, went into another room, closed the door, covered the camera with a towel, and turned it on. She was still asleep when I approached her with my completely quiet camera. As soon as I lifted it to my eye, however, she started to sit up.
Well, you can still see how nice she looks after her nails were trimmed and her hair was washed yesterday.
You might also be able to tell why I'm going to remove this old carpeting from the dining room as soon as possible. It won't be as soft for Lindy to lie on, but she has two beds of her own, and two ottomans, one in the living room and one under the dining room window, and there's also carpeting in the bedrooms. It's a dog's life, she says. I know, Lindy, but we do our best!

Photo by Kay Davies, January 11, 2014
Posted for Camera Critters, hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!
Also posted for Pet Pride, hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family at their Pets Forever blog in Mumbai, India.
Lindy says, "I know you sometimes don't like to look at the camera, Bozo. Neither do I. It's so-o-o annoying."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Orbs of light, and love and life

the trees, the leaves,
the colours
of the landscape
and above them all
the ephemeral blue
of the sky...

while below,
in another season,
when all the leaves
have been blown away,
the roots are exposed
to make chairs
for the toads

when they visit
the squirrels for tea
Kay Davies, January, 2014

At the online writers' group, Imaginary Garden with Real ToadsMargaret has asked us to think about orbs by sharing with us some of the "global" pictures of Deborah Glessner, a creative woman experienced in art photography.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Exotic setting where I've never been

and where I wouldn't want to go...
Izy's Out of Standard challenge today at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads asks us to write about an exotic holiday destination, with a catch. It must be a place where others go, but I would not.
As it happens, this has been on the Canadian TV network, CBC, twice. Both times I had to close my eyes while my husband watched that wild and woolly Newfoundlander, Rick Mercer, climb BC's 9000-foot Mount Nimbus, crossing a swinging suspension bridge at a mere 8050 feet.
It scared the wits out of me. Both times. I don't care if my husband asks me to sprinkle his ashes from the top of a mountain, from a hang glider, from a parachute, or from the top of the CN Tower, it ain't gonna happen.

Rick Mercer, right, with his guide. Contemplating the bridge on the way to the top.
if some ill fate should place me here
above this ghastly chasm
I'll just sit down and perish here
from a lack of food, and a surfeit of fear
After a successful crossing, Mercer smiles for the camera. He only fell once.
I blinked my eyes at the TV
at the moment when Mercer fell
between the boards that form the bridge
a thousand storeys from hell

of course he knew that he was safe
and knew that he wouldn't die
he was wearing a harness and line
but 'twas nearly the end of I

safe at home in my chair I sat
trying to catch my breath...
there's nothing Kiplingesque about that
to jest at such height with death*

At the summit, looking down at death the bridge.

CBC and Mercer Report photos

* ref. Rudyard Kipling, Ballad of East and West

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Z is for Zeil am Main

Photo by Richard Schear, November, 2012
Posted for the letter Z at ABC Wednesday
Zeil am Main is an historic Franconian town known for old churches, romantic houses, medieval walls and towers, the hill church of Zeiler Käpelle, and the castle ruins of the Schmachtenburg. Zeil is located in the German state of Bavaria.
The photo above was taken by my husband from a bus crossing a bridge in Zeil am Main on the way to Bamberg during a Viking River Cruises holiday on the Rhine, Main (rhymes with Rhine), and Danube Rivers. Unfortunately, I spent much of the trip aboard our cruise ship because I was fighting a debilitating cough. Fortunately, however, I could see many of the cities from our cabin.
If memory serves, I believe the shore excursion that day consisted of boarding a bus to drive through Zeil am Main, and from there overland to Bamberg, to be met there by the ship (with me onboard).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How low can you go?

Over at Grandma's Goulash, Grandma has posted a photo, and her daughter Calico has picked the word-of-the-week ("theory") and now participants are asked to write a story based on the picture—either a short story of 140 words, or a short-short story of 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
I don't get over to Grandma's to participate as often as I'd like, but when I do, I like to use Option 2: 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
If I can, I like one of the words to be the word of the week. I think I've got it, by George, I think I've got it. 134 characters, including spaces, punctuation and "theory"!

What??? I fell asleep in my owner's chair and when I woke up I was holding a guitar, and people were telling me to learn Music Theory.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hipy papy bthuthday to A.A. Milne

“I might have known,”
  said Eeyore. 
“After all, one can’t complain. 
  I have my friends. Somebody
  spoke to me only yesterday.
  And was it last week or the week before
  that Rabbit bumped into me and
  said ‘Bother!’?
  The Social Round. Always something going on.” 
―A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

and Eeyore, too
were more than just part
of my childhood.
They brightened my life
when I was an Eeyore
and made me laugh
when I felt like Pooh.

Of course, Pooh didn't always feel great, did he? He had his moments, as I did.

"I don’t feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh.
"There there," said Piglet. "I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do." 

But even Eeyore
had a birthday party.
Whereat a good time
was had by all,
except, quite
possibly, Eeyore.

"What I like doing best is Nothing."
"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, 'What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?' and you say, 'Oh, Nothing,' and then you go and do it. It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
"Oh!" said Pooh. 

None of it would have happened
(of course)
if it hadn't been for a boy
named Christopher Robin,
whose father, A.A. Milne,
a writer who had written
in several styles
and more than one genre,
started to tell him stories
about his bear, Winnie-the-Pooh,
and his other toy animals,
Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl,
Tigger, Kanga, Baby Roo,
all of rabbit's relatives,
and a Heffalump. Truly.

“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.” 

A.A. Milne
It is January now, the birth month of three well-known fantasy writers, one of whom is A.A. Milne, and the other two of whom are Lewis Carroll and J.R.R Tolkein. At the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Kerry has asked Toads and contributors to consider one of these writers, and my first choice—in fact, my only choice—is the man who put Winnie-the-Pooh into my life, long before Walt Disney took Pooh and changed him. I've always loved Pooh, in the old books, with the old drawings by E.H. Shepard, whose pencil sketches were, to me, perfectly perfect. I am thrilled that I had read Milne's books many times before he died in 1956. I imagined, at the age of 10, that he somehow knew I was a dedicated fan. Happy Birthday, Mr. Milne.

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Sabu Yerku" for Music with Marian

A multi-talented member of the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, my friend Marian introduced to us  Ali and Toumani, the Grammy-award-winning album of duets from two of Africa’s most distinguished musicians, the late guitarist Ali Farka Touré and kora player Toumani Diabaté.
The song in the video Marian included for us is called Sabu Yerku.

the sound tingles
in the veins
of my arms
and moves
from my shoulders
to my fingertips
and yet,
it is an unfamiliar sound
carrying with it
no memories of mine,
but instead
the wisdom of the ages,
delightfully down
                           by Kay Davies, January, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

These skies are gay, not grey

 Photos copyright 2008 Kay Davies and Richard Schear

So, this isn't Sochi, Russia, it's Moscow, with beautiful blue skies and no talk of anyone's preferences one way or the other or not.
Unfortunately, some world-class athletes will be in Russia very soon, and their personal preferences stand to be called into account and perhaps punished.

I am very grateful to have seen Russia. We enjoyed meeting its people in a year when everyone seemed to be happily headed toward peace and democracy. We were there in 2008, and wept with the Russian people when, shortly after we arrived home, a plane carrying the entire men's hockey team from the city of Yaroslavl crashed after takeoff. The one survivor died within days. Lost in the crash were many non-Russians, including Canadians.

Yes, we did come home glad we had seen Russia and met its people. Now many Canadians and citizens of other countries are worried about Olympic athletes. Let us hope our worries are for naught, and blue skies shine over the Games.

Posted for Skywatch Friday

Post-holiday thoughts

All photos used here today are in the public domain,
except the one of Lindy (copyright K. Davies and R. Schear)

holiday leftovers,
two points of view

hmm, we have ham
and we have yam...
let’s build a dam
out of mashed potatoes!
I’ll fry the mashed
and make some hash...
these brussels sprouts
make great torpedoes!
I’m so glad the tree is down
and we took the lights...
let’s have some fights!
to the basement...
in the basement!
this cranberry jelly
looks just like blood!
I hope we don’t flood
with the snow-melt...
I’ll bloody my arm
after you pelt
maybe we should
clear the basement...
me with a sprout
and then I’m out
I’d hate for the lights...
like a light!
to get soggy...
come on, doggy!

by Kay Davies, January, 2014

New Year's Day in the Imaginary Garden

At the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Kerry asked us to write a poem entirely open to personal interpretation on the theme “Resolutions” and the poem may be reflective, narrative, analytical, or abstract. Oh, I like that. I’ll try to be analytically abstract.

like revolutions
often go 'round and 'round
and the wheel
goes spinning 'round, 'round, 'round
something, something, two hearts are bound...tra la

I resolve to lose weight
on some later date
I resolve to give up
the caffeine in my cup
and the sugar (if real)
on my breakfast oatmeal
and replace them with
unpronounceable chemicals

I resolve to be gracious to all
who might, or who might not, me call
(even my sister, who always starts all
conversations to sound like hog calls)

by Kay Davies, January 1, 2014
"Ain't she sweet?" said the spider to the fly.