Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lindy's last years will be fun ones

At one time, Lindy was slim and trim and could walk for miles.

Some readers of my blog may remember our darlin' dog, Lindy. She is old now, but we don't know how old...12 or 13 years, perhaps, according to Medicine Hat's SOS Dog Rescue, from whom we adopted her in 2009.
Definitely in her doggy dotage, and blind now as well.
Although we leave her with friends, whom she loves, when we travel by plane, we always miss her, every day.
So my husband, Richard Schear, has decided we will take a road trip once a year so Lindy can come with us. She loves to stay in hotels, and also settles down quickly whenever we go from one hotel to another. As long as she has a familiar blanket and her big pink pig (who grunts, which she prefers to toys that squeak), she feels right at home.
She doesn't like long walks any more...nor do I, for that we send The Big Guy out with a camera, and he returns with plenty of photos, like this one taken at Bryce Canyon, Utah, when we visited the Four Corners states: Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
Bryce Canyon, Utah, Richard Schear photo
I feel I should apologize to my fellow blogspot bloggers, because I've been unable to keep up with my Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travels for quite some time now. I've had some health problems, nothing major (I hope) but enough to interfere with the writing I would like to be doing.
Growing old isn't easy when it messes with your head, but it is certainly interesting.
I'm wishing all of you success in 2016, whether with your writing, your job, or your photography, and I'll join you when I can.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Earth

I’m an old lady, so I’ve lived on this planet for a fairly long time.
I live in Alberta, so I know how much the people of this province depend upon the “oil patch” for their fuel, and for their livelihoods.
I am, however, old enough to remember when it wasn’t like this. I remember when Albertans were moving to British Columbia for jobs. The oil hadn’t been discovered yet. I am a British Columbian, and some of our dearest friends were Albertans who’d had to move.
Then suddenly, the oil boom happened, and young people were leaving BC in droves, searching for jobs in the almighty oil-patch.
Now, people across the country have been made aware of the danger to our entire country posed by leaks in oil lines, by accidents with tanker trucks, or, to our horror, an oil train explosion.
The health implications are horrendous. The dangers to the planet even worse.
“Oh, you tree-huggers want us to lose our jobs,” say the angry Albertans, most of whom would lose their jobs if the transportation and use of oil as a fuel is stopped, so I understand their feeling.
But moving oil by any means must, nevertheless, be stopped.
For the sake of the planet, it must be stopped.
There is only one answer, and it is not easy. It will cost the country and the provinces a lot of money. It will cost oil barons a lot of money. And it will cost oilworkers their jobs.
There is only one answer, and it is retraining those oilworkers to build wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal heating.
Europe is doing it. 
Yes, countries are smaller in Europe, but there are leaders in those small countries who know a change must be made, so they’re making it.
Re-training, subsidized by the federal and provincial governments, will not cause mass unemployment if done in connection with the building of a new power, wind, and geothermal power are the answer.
Take a look at what has been accomplished in Europe...European countries are more densely populated, but almost any roof can support solar panels, and even the most populated countries are still finding places for wind turbines.
“Ooh, they’re ugly.”
“I don’t like them.”
“Not in my back yard.”
Okay, maybe not wind turbines in back yards, although I might welcome one here in our large yard when our old dog has no more use for it. And geothermal heating causes an upheaval in peaceful suburban and even urban landscapes, but only for the short time, not for the long term.
Ah, yes, solar husband says they’re not worth the investment because they’ll never pay back the cost of installation. Yes, he’s right, we wouldn’t recoup the cost because we are, as I mentioned, not young any more. But would solar panels on our south-facing roof increase the value of “this old house”? Indeed, they would.
Besides, the cost should not be a major factor.
Cost not a factor?
What kind of old nasty hippy commie freak am I?
The kind who, although I love my creature comforts, such as they are, would like the planet to be safe for our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

For shame, I've been gone too long

I promised Winnie and the cats at the blog The Chair Speaks that I would stop procrastinating and post this photo to my own blog.
It was taken after our dog Lindy had surgery last year. In fact, the photo is of Lindy napping with her mommy on New Year's Eve, 2014, so you can see how active we are around here (not very).
Thanks, Winnie, for the nudge into action.
And for those who know Lindy, she recovered wonderfully well and now, although not as active as she used to be, she is a happy, happy dog.

Richard Schear, photo
Just yesterday, we went to one of Lindy's favourite stores. She isn't allowed past the grocery-cart lobby at Costco, so she waits there with one of us while the other one shops. While I was sitting with her, she met a lovely little 7-month-old baby who had just started walking. She walked right up to Lindy, and received a dog-kiss, which thrilled her.
Lindy can't see any more, but she knows when someone is nearby, and is especially fond of young children. She sits still while they pat her, pet her, and hug her. She's a darlin' old girl, for sure.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

One of the world's heroes

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE
I said yesterday I would tell you why my husband and I went to Calgary. Here is the meet Dr. Jane Goodall and to listen to her talk to a crowd of thousands in the Jubilee Auditorium.

We fell in love with her.

Having admired her for so many years, we both expected to enjoy her talk, but we were completely blown away.

How many 81-year-olds could bring so many people to their feet, applauding, laughing, and crying at once?

Meeting a woman who has long been a heroine to both of us.
Hugging Icelandic horses on a farm northwest of Calgary, as I told you about yesterday, was a bonus. The real thrill of the week was meeting Dr. Jane.

Now my husband Dick (Richard Schear) and I are contemplating ways in which we can join in the amazing work this wonderful woman is doing.

You see, it's not just studying chimpanzees any more. Dr. Jane is now an activist rather than a scientist. She established the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977,  and since then she has been actively working to save the planet, one child, one school, one town, one city at a time. Calgary, Alberta, has been completely won over. The mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, calls her one of the world's heroes.
Her Roots and Shoots program is active in Calgary schools and the children who participate are already making a difference to their world.

We both came away inspired, each with a copy of her latest book 50 Years at Gombe, with its fabulous National Geographic cover shot of a young Jane grooming a chimpanzee (i.e. looking for bugs) while the nonchalant chimp munches on bananas.
Thanks to Vets to Go for producing a wonderful evening and for bringing one of the world's heroes to Alberta.

Communicating with one of her chimps in Gombe

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Better late than...I don't know what

It's now almost three months since I posted anything to my blog.
I can't really call myself a blogger any more, can I?

Well, to help remedy the situation, here are some photos my husband, Richard Schear, took during our recent trip to Calgary and beyond.

These are from the Wild Rose Icelandics horse farm, owned by our new friends Danielle and Kyle.
Danielle and I share a laugh.

My history with horses

I grew up in British Columbia, in what was then a small city surrounded by farms and orchards. I had plenty of opportunities to ride horses, and I did try, more than once, but the horses would always know I was afraid, so they would all toss me off. Very scary stuff, that.

I retained my fear of horses into adulthood, and into my old age, until last year when we visited Iceland and I met a herd of Icelandic horses. All they wanted was for me to hug them, and cuddle them, and sweet talk them. I was in love.

This week I was able to hug Icelandic horses again, and it was just as wonderful. We've been invited back, and I will certainly make sure we go.

Meanwhile, the photos...

This is Aurora.

This is Aurora's trick.
A finger held horizontally, then raised up in front of her nose, always produces this reaction.
Needless to say, I thought it was great fun, and had her do her trick again and again.

Coming soon to a blog near you: the reason we went to Calgary.

Friday, January 23, 2015


via Google
I just realized it's been almost three weeks since I posted anything to my blog. I hardly dare call myself a blogger at all any more.

However, here is a little ditty for today. It sprang pretty well full blown into my head this morning, and is about a wooden puppet who met up with a very handy thief.

Amby Dexter was bereft
on discovering the theft...
now it seemed that
his right hand
was all that he had left.

Kay Davies, January, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Flash 55— Man, you gotta go

hit the road
the open road
the long and very winding road
on your bike—
a biker’s bike—
so nevermore will you hitchhike
on your way
because today
you’ll know why the bikers say
gotta go
you gotta go
oh yeah, now, man, you gotta go...
the sky...the sun...the wind...the open road
55 words by Kay Davies, Jan. 3, 2015

I never wrote for Flash 55 when it was the purview of Galen Haynes, aka G-Man, aka Mr. Knowitall, clearly the man to be reckoned with if anyone exceeded his number count for this popular monthly challenge.
I was saddened, however, when many of my blogging friends expressed their grief for his death last month. I wish I had written for Flash 55, and wish I had come to know Galen in that special interpretation of the word know which only other bloggers can understand.
Kerry says that when Galen knew he had to retire from blogging, he turned the reins and the rights to Flash 55 over to The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
once a place where I had my own toadstool, and a place I am happy to visit whenever I can.
Today is the first Saturday of the month, and time for the Flash 55 challenge. Kerry added a new element to the prompt for the first Saturday of the year: a photo of a biker and his motorcycle, and she wrote "During the 50s in America,  a sub-culture emerged, depicting bikers as heroes who had cast off the shackles of a society they could not come to terms with. In fact the motorcycle and rider became symbolic of a rebellion against a system that the young rejected. This was manifest in the popular slogan 'Man, you gotta go' which expressed an inexplicable urge to be in motion for motion’s sake, rather than for some articulate reason – such as a destination."
I remember the 50s, when I was very young and thought motorcycles an extremely scary mode of transportation. When I was a little older, in the 60s, I realized my poor sense of balance probably had something to do with my opinion, and I've never, therefore, ridden a motorcycle nor even been a passenger on one. Nevertheless, I think I understand that 'inexplicable urge' Kerry mentions, 'to be in motion for motion's sake' and I've written 55 words about it here.
Free Wallpaper


Women are the warriors our times call for. 
                         Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette is a First Nations Metis artist, author and speaker in western Canada.

He is the artist who created this, and is also the writer who wrote it. When I got in touch with him, he said, "Feel free to share..." so here is his message.

Thank you, Aaron. This is not only beautiful, I also feel it is important. I have changed only small things, but none of your words.
As a woman I cry for my country, my world, my planet...for our oceans and forests and the creatures who dwell therein. Thank you for granting us permission to share your words, and to display your art.
— Kay

Some people make the mistake of thinking women are only gatherers … gardeners … that they can only dig and pick and cultivate and hide.
I tell you that women are the strongest, smartest and most dangerous hunters the world has ever seen.
Individually, they may be physically overpowered, but in planning, in vision, in purpose and explosive action, they can’t be beat.
Any honest man will admit there is nothing that fills them with awe so much as their partner when she has made up her mind. She has become an unstoppable, indomitable will. If it’s against him, he’d better start running!
There’s a narrative that women are weak, that they’re vulnerable, that they are somehow less intelligent or capable than a man.
Well, they said that about serfs, about slaves, about people from other races. They say it about anyone they want to control.
You see, it’s the storytellers that rule the world.
And we repeat their stories.
It’s time for a new chapter.
It’s time to write a new reality.
It’s time to stand up and tell your story.
You are only vulnerable when you let others define you as vulnerable.
You are only weak if you let them convince you it’s true.
You are only ‘less than’ if you believe it.
Women are warriors. They are the ones who run with wolves, the ones who follow the moon. They are the ones who give life and they are the first story tellers their children will hear.
Women have all the power of humanity. All the power to shape the world.
Are you waiting for permission? Give it to yourself.
Are you waiting for your time? It’s now.
Are you waiting for a sign? Look around.
You are the linch-pin, the tipping of the scales.
The moment you say you’ve had enough. The moment you rise …
Everything changes.
We are in a battle for a future that our children, grandchildren and theirs can grow in, be safe in, be challenged in.
Part of it means taking time for yourself, for silence, to breathe and renew. Part of it means to let go for a while. You've been carrying heavy burdens.
There will be men who cling desperately to the idea that they have power over you. Outsmart them. Outmaneuver them. Out-plan and out-strategize.
There are so many more good men willing to be your allies, willing to be your support, willing to be your partners. We are your sons, after all.
We are in a battle for the soul of the planet.
And you are that soul.
You are the warriors.
And this is your time.
hiy hiy.

Feel free to print this out, to share it, to hang it where you can see it.
Aaron Paquette is a First Nations Metis artist, author and speaker based in Edmonton, Aberta. His bestselling novel 'Lightfinder' was published in 2014 through Kegedonce Press and is now in its 2nd printing.

To order Lightfinder:
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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Once upon a time "Cleese" was "Cheese"

I interrupt the leisurely flow of my first morning in 2015 to bring you a bit of a book review. (I haven't read much yet.)

My husband received, from one of his many daughters, "So, Anyway...", the autobiography of British actor John Cleese of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fame.
Said husband seldom reads books, perhaps one a year at most, perhaps one every second year. He doesn't plan to read this one until lolling at Lava Hot Springs for a week during our next road trip.
I, therefore, being out of new reading material myself, and the library being closed due to New Year's Day, am reading Cleese's autobiography.
I'm reading it despite never being a Monty Python fan, and also despite taking years to become willing to watch Fawlty Towers. (I was a few paragraphs into this writing before realizing I didn't know how to spell Fawlty.)
But enough about me, and back to the book: I got all the way to page 11 before I found a typo, so that's a good sign, and I've now finished the first chapter without finding another. However, the real news is that I'm enjoying it because the man can really write.
I recently re-read a number of book reviews by Dorothy Parker. If you haven't read any of those, please do. She could write better than I can, and, I daresay, better than John Cleese, and she did so in the 1920s.

But I digress. I have a long list of things to do in order to ready myself and my house for the new year, but I suspect I'll be more inclined to read the Cleese book than to clean the stove or sort all my old clothes.
Yes, I know the book hasn't received rave reviews, but it is an autobiography of the man, not of the Monty Python group, nor of the Fawlty Towers show, but of the man as he sees himself from the inside. (And, dear reader, please count how many times I used the word 'of' in the previous sentence, because I don't know how many.)
* * *
I am linking this, although it is not a poem, to Susie Clevenger's challenge for the first day of the New Year, in which she asks us to choose one of the quotations she has provided for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

"I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the years."   Henry Moore