Monday, November 20, 2017

Trump son's hunting, or not?

This just in: I wrote this blog post, about hunting elephants for their tusks, on the weekend and now, Monday, it appears pressure from social media might be having an effect.

Amazing — Trump just tweeted that he's putting his plan on hold and the BBC says it came after massive action on social media! Our pressure is working, but we haven’t won yet... (from Avaz)

US lifts ban on African elephant trophies
More than one online news source reported that the US import ban on elephant trophies from Africa had been lifted. Some say it's been done because the son of the president of the United States wants to be able to kill elephants 'legally'!

Trump's son
"US President Donald Trump just gave a sickening gift to his son: changing the law to let bloodthirsty American hunters murder elephants in Africa and bring their heads home as trophies. 

"Trump Jr. shot and mutilated an elephant — and now his dad is rewarding him by letting anyone join in the slaughter, and allowing them to bring home elephant body parts as souvenirs, even as ivory poaching threatens to wipe these amazing creatures out. 

"Elephants are facing extinction and this is no time to strip them of protection. Trophy hunting drives the slaughter of elephants, increases demand for their body parts, and projects a double standard that makes it harder to tackle ivory poaching," reports say.

"The Trump administration says it will only lift the ban on trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe, countries which, (Trump) claims, have sustainable, well-managed elephant populations."

However, the population of elephants in Zambia is just 21,000—down from over 200,000 just 45 years ago.

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, government officials trap baby elephants to sell them to zoos!  With Americans joining Zimbabwe in eliminating elephants, that population of 21,000 could be decimated in no time.

Experts say it’s almost impossible to stop poaching when wealthy Americans are shooting elephants for fun. The only way to save elephants from extinction is to stop killing them, and to reduce the demand for their body parts."

Body parts! 

This isn't Victorian England when the wealthy had umbrella stands made from an elephant's foot and lower leg.

I don't know anyone who wants elephant body parts. The people in my world are opposed to the slaughter of animals so close to extinction, and most of them are opposed to the slaughter of wild animals anywhere at all, whether endangered or not.

Surely my friends and I are not alone in our horror following this backward move on the part of the president of the United States.

But wait, isn't he the same president who doesn't believe in global warming? Isn't he the same president aiding and abetting the production of greenhouse gases in his country?

Oh, yes, that president. That's the one. Leading elephants and the world toward extinction.

Posting for Lady Fi's memorable meme, Our World Tuesday

Monday, October 30, 2017

"This one's an artist!"

My continuing family saga

1967 was the year of Canada's 100th Birthday was the year my brother Clint joined the Royal Canadian Navy,
the year my sister Ann's friend Maria started to look at Clint with a twinkle in her eye
...not to mention that it was also the year I left home for the third and final time.

And then...
in 1968, my family grew!

The expectant father was beside himself with fear. Anything could (and often did) happen to women giving birth in the 1960s.
He was aghast!
My parents were planning their retirement, and soon there would be an addition to our family.
Mom was thrilled. She referred to the baby as Robbie even before he was born, but Dad would storm out of the house saying, "I don't know anyone who's having a baby!"
Poor Dad.
White Rock, British Columbia
He couldn't contemplate life without his sweetheart.
My mother was soon taken from the oceanfront suburb of White Rock to Vancouver General Hospital for strict observation, and stayed there until it was judged safe for a caesarean-section.
She thrived, and survived...and so did my new little brother: Robert Edward Davies, born March 7, 1968.
I was living in the city, and had to pass near the hospital on my way home from work. I'd stop most days to visit Mom in the most-difficult-pregnancies ward: a bright, warm, sunny room housing three young women—and my mother.
They were all there for quite a while, under the strict observation of multiple nurses and doctors, for a variety of reasons...and no wonder: one of the young women had triplets. Triplets! She was my age, triplets the same age as my new brother. I often thought of her as Rob was growing up: three infants, three toddlers, three mind boggled.
Dad was happy to turn his attention to new-fatherhood once he knew Mom was healthy and happy. Some of their friends, however, asked what would become of their retirement.
"We'll take him with us," he replied.
Fast forward to Robbie sitting in a high chair at the age of two. He started walking very early because he had so little weight to carry, but still used a high chair. He was very bright: easily recognizing the sounds of our parents' favourite musicians. His favourite was Louis Armstrong.
San Felipe, where Mom, Dad and
Rob wintered for many years
One day, Mom stepped out of the room for some reason, and quickly returned, but not before that little guy had turned himself around in his high chair, taken a piece of chalk in his hand and, along the bottom of her grocery-list blackboard, made a series of straight vertical lines about an inch high.
Mom was more amazed than worried. Sure, he hadn't turned around in his chair before, and he certainly hadn't tried to use a piece of chalk, but...
"What's that, Robbie?" Mom asked.
"Grass," he replied.
Mom phoned Dad at the family printing shop. "Bring paper," she said. "This one's an artist."
And Rob Davies was, indeed, an artist, and so he has been ever since: in kindergarten in our parents' chosen winter home of San Felipe, on Mexico's Baja Peninsula; in school in White Rock, BC; in art school in Vancouver, BC; at work in Vancouver, California and Germany, and now with his partners at Atomic Cartoons in Vancouver, B.C.
Rob, younger then than now
Atomic's signature cartoon is Atomic Betty. Betty was a young schoolgirl with red hair and superpowers, who lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and fought evil whenever necessary.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

My somewhat illustrious ancestor

My dad's Living Rivers of British Columbia and Living Rivers of British Columbia and Yukon books 'delight all those interested in the outdoors'.

While writing about my father, I felt I must look up some things that have already been written about him, and I've included some of them here.

Outdoor and travel writer, photographer, artist, musician, WWII veteran, and journeyman printer, Gordon Davies (1924–2009) was 'the friend of every river he ever met'.

With my mother, Pauline—and very often with their young son, my brother Rob—my parents explored and fished rivers from Yukon to Mexico.

In his Living Rivers books, 'he showed, in prose and photographs, how deeply he felt about the streams of British Columbia', our home province.

'Well-informed, concerned, caring, and with a wry wit, he leaves us in no doubt: he loved rivers.'

The second volume in Gordon Davies' collection of stories also featured the rivers of the Yukon. From the turbulent Yukon in the far north, to streams flowing into Washington State, he became, in his books, 'a valuable and entertaining guide to fisher and non-fisher alike'.

'An avid fisher could find information about various fish in each river, as well as suggestions as to the best lures and bait. 
Those who didn't fish could find a wealth of material about western Canadian rivers, and about interesting sites along their banks.'

Lots of good, even wonderful, things have been said about my dad (whom I often referred to as 'my illustrious ancestor') and I feel in my heart that I should add something here, but right now I can only quote this verse from 'Voices United'

“I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.”

NEW NEWS — I have successfully tracked down copies of Dad's books, have ordered some from Amazon, etc., and now am in touch with the publisher of Living Rivers II, about procuring more copies for posterity, and for the nieces, nephews, grandchildren et al.

Sharing this with Lady Fi's memorable meme Our World Tuesday

Monday, October 23, 2017

The musician in the dad

Louis Armstrong
My very-much-younger brother
Rob could recognize the sound of
Louis' horn when he was a toddler.

Below: Glenn Miller
Mom and Dad loved his music
and made sure I loved it, too.

On a wind-up gramophone in the 1950s; on my portable record-player in the 1960s; and later, on a cabinet stereo or even a battery-operated cassette player— my parents loved to play the music of their youth: swing, blues, jazz, swing, and one of their favourites: Dixieland.

When my brother Clint and I were still quite small, we learned the names of all Dad's favourite bands and the band leaders, and several of the musicians, not just Louis and Glenn.
Our younger sister was either too young or too disinterested. Probably too young.
Canadian Army Show

Like so many music students in the pre-WWII era, Dad had to learn violin when he was a youngster, but his real love was the trumpet. He could, and did, play other horns and other instruments, but he always loved his trumpet.

Dad played standing bass* in a dance band, and was a musician in the Canadian Army Show in Britain in WWII (where his other assignments included painting scenery, because he was also a dab hand with a brush).

Army show musicians, singers, and artists, all belonged to the army—they wore army uniforms, but they weren't trained soldiers. The show's job, as bombs dropped all around, was to entertain Canadian, British and other allied troops who were about to be sent across the English Channel to France.

One almost-fateful day, members of the army show were rounded up, put on a train and told their eventual destination was France...once there, they would no doubt be expected to use rifles, hand grenades, and who-knew-what-all weapons. They were not amused.
No amount of talking could convince superior officers that they didn't know one end of a machine gun from the other but, at the last minute, orders came to send them back to the Army Show from which they had come. Great sighs of relief (and cheers, I imagine) from scenery-painters, sign-painters, musicians and other entertainers! They'd have been helpless cannon fodder for sure, I'd bet.


Years later, back home, married and enjoying fatherhood, Dad quickly recognized my brother Clint's musical aptitude and eventually taught him to play trumpet.
However, I was, and am, tone deaf, so Dad told me early on that the best he could do for me was to teach me to listen to music, to learn and appreciate the sound of each instrument.
I'm so grateful he did that. I still can't carry a tune in a bucket, but I learned all the words to all the songs I heard on the radio, all the hymns in church, and can enjoy mouthing the words when others around me are singing songs from the 1940s and 50s, the 60s and 70s.
Nothing, however, matched the enjoyment of listening to Dad and Clint playing trumpet together. It gave me great pleasure, all warm and fuzzy and proud.

One of the sweetest and funniest things Dad did: when he bought my portable record-player, it came with a box of 45rpm records: a full set of Glenn Miller's music. Dad said I had to play one Glenn Miller record for every rock'n'roll record. Although I discontinued that one-for-one as I grew older, Dad's patient instruction stood me in good stead when it came to listening to the sound of other musicians, other orchestras, other bands.


I love a lassie, a bonnie Hielan' lassie
She can warble like a blackbird in the dell.
(Traditional Scottish song)

My mother, however, carried her own musical instrument within her: she could whistle every song she'd ever heard. She could definitely "warble like a blackbird in the dell" as the song says.

When I’m lonely, dear white heart;
Gordon and Pauline Davies
black the night or wild the sea,
By love’s light, my foot finds
the old pathway to thee.
                                (Eriskay Love Lilt)


Dad gave Mom an engagement ring before he went overseas. When he returned to the west coast of Canada, he married her: Pauline MacKenzie, his high school sweetheart.

One last note...when I was 21, my old parents became new parents: and my brother Rob quickly made it clear (when he was a toddler) that he had inherited our dad's artistic ability. Rob has always made his living in the animated cartoon industry, and I'm ever-so-very proud of him, proud to the point of annoying him when I get too gushy. Sorry, kiddo, but that's me.

*Bass, upright bass, string bass, acoustic bass, acoustic string bass, contrabass, contrabass viol, bass viol, standup bass, bull fiddle and bass fiddle. (Wikipedia)

PS—One day I might tell you about the bagpipe lessons I insisted on.

Posting for Fiona's wonderful meme  Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The past slides into the present

What's on my mind today (if you use Facebook, you'll know this is the question Facebook always asks) so...what's on my mind is the large collection of colour slides my father, Gordon Davies, amassed during his years as an outdoor writer and photographer.

I've checked online with both of my brothers, one at his home in British Columbia, the other gallivanting around Europe with his wife on their umpteenth 'second honeymoon'!

Neither brother has been able to tell me where those slides are now...but I'm telling you, Dad's photos were beautiful. Not only beautiful, but also wonderful.

The gizmo pictured above is supposed to able to transform colour slides into online photos, I've been told. How wonderful is that?

You're probably thinking if I had such a gizmo, I would bore everyone in Blogdom with endless travel, fishing and outdoor photos (if one of us can find them). You might be right. Fish photos would be a change, however, from endless pictures of my dogs, past and present. And a change is...well, you know, it's as good as a rest.

I can't even find Dad's books now, because I had loaned both of them (Living Rivers and Living Rivers II) to a sick friend. I do hope she had a chance to read them both before she died, because they are happy books.

Oh, don't get me wrong, they're not jump-up-and-down happy, like a teenager on a trampoline, but serene-and tranquil-happy, like a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter's day. That's what El Gordo wanted...always coffee, never tea, and he'd thank you with that mischievous twinkle in his eye.

When we were young, Dad taught us about fish and their spawning.
This lake trout is in 'spawning dress' and  therefore not good eating.
Wikipedia photo

I'm sharing this trip into my past with Lady Fi's
Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dog and ball retrospective

Cito Gaston
On more than one occasion my husband, Richard Schear, and I drove from here (Medicine Hat, Alberta) to Seattle, Washington, to watch 'our' baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, play the Seattle Mariners.
The Jays were still led by coach Cito Gaston and were great fun to watch because playing against the Mariners meant playing against the incomparable Ichiro Suzuki.
In the stands, there would be an equal number of American and Canadian fans, many of them there because of the rivalry between the Jays and the Mariners, and many of them because they loved to see Ichiro's amazing performances.

The incomparable Ichiro
However, Dick and I had our own favourites: two young Blue Jays players we called our boys: mine was Aaron Hill and Dick's was Adam Lind.
Aaron Hill at bat

Adam Lind

In time, our trips to Seattle had to stop because we adopted a dog. She turned out to be a dog who loved to travel, but of course she couldn't be left alone in a hotel room while we attended a ball game.

When we first found our Golden Retriever at the former SOS Senior Dog Rescue in Medicine Hat, they called her 'Lily'. She had been living wild with another Golden, and  the two had spent a winter in a barn. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't stay in their new home, because the farmer couldn't afford to keep feeding two big dogs, so he had to give them up.
'Lily' was not, however, the name we kept for her. Our next door neighbours had a 'Lily' so Dick suggested we name her after his favourite Toronto baseball player, Adam Lind, and her name became Lindy.

The late, lovely Lindy was a beautiful girl, with a beautiful personality. She loved people and was even willing to be dressed up for Hallowe'en, when she loved to lick the candy-covered faces of neighbourhood children.

I'm posting this retrospective for
Lady Fi's incomparable meme, 
Thanks, Fiona, I know how much you love Goldens.
Our beautiful Lindy, here with her daddy, who adored her.

Monday, September 25, 2017

With love but not permission...

    In a previous post, I mentioned a poem I've always enjoyed but was dubious about sharing  because it is still, apparently, in print.

This week, however, I'm going to be big and brave and bold, in keeping with the indomitable poet, archy. Perhaps I'm breaking copyright (I don't know) but I want to share this with you because, if you don't already know of Don Marquis and his characters by now, you should.

Also because the author is dead these many years, and because the poet who claims, here, to have written this poem was, if he is to be believed, once a vers libre bard whose soul transmigrated into the body of a cockroach named archy.

Now, archy could type out his poems by climbing up on a typewriter and jumping down to hit each key with his head, then going back up and jumping down to hit another key with his head...well, you get the picture. However, archy couldn't use capital letters because he couldn't hold down the shift key.
His best friend was a black cat named mehitabel who claimed to have been Cleopatra.
Who or what they may have transmigrated into by now is anybody's guess ...maybe he is still a cockroach and she still a cat, or they might even be mice... but in the Don Marquis book I love so much, mehitabel was an alley cat of dubious virtue, and archy was a very determined poet who had, one imagines, a very sore top-of-the-head.

This poem appears as it was written by archy, with no uppercase (capital) letters because, as I said, he couldn't shift for himself.

archy meets warty bliggens

i met a toad
the other day by the name
of warty bliggens
he was sitting under
a toadstool
feeling contented
he explained that when the cosmos
was created
that toadstool was especially
planned for his personal
shelter from sun and rain
thought out and prepared
for him

do not tell me said warty bliggens
that there is not a purpose in the universe
the thought is blasphemy

a little more conversation revealed
that warty bliggens considers himself to be
the center of the said
the earth exists
to grow toadstools for him
to sit under
the sun to give him light
by day and the moon
and wheeling constellations
to make beautiful
the night for the sake of
warty bliggens

to what act of yours
do you impute
this interest on the part
of the creator
of the universe
i asked him
why is it that you
are so greatly favored

ask rather
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me

if i were a human being i would
not laugh
too complacently
at poor warty bliggens
for similar
have only too often
lodged in the crinkles
of the human cerebrum
                                           ... by archy

archy is sharing my walk down memory lane with
Lady Fi's marvelous meme, Our World Tuesday

Monday, September 18, 2017

The World is Too Much...


“The World is Too Much with Us” (circa 1802) is a sonnet by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. In it, the poet criticizes the world of the first Industrial Revolution for being absorbed in materialism and for its people distancing themselves from nature. (Wikipedia)

In the early 19th century, Wordsworth wrote several sonnets blasting what he perceived as "the decadent material cynicism" of the time.
"The World Is Too Much with Us" is one of those works. It reflects his view that humanity must get in touch with nature in order to progress spiritually.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours:
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. —Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; 
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Triton fountain in Rome
by Gianlorenzo Bernini
Who among us can fail to see the similarities between the ancient world, as described here by Wordsworth, and the world in which we live today?

As writers and poets, we can all read his words "getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..." and "for everything we are out of tune, it moves us not"... and we can't help but apply those words, from 1802, to life in the 21st century.

Yes, our world has seen changes which, in so many ways, would amaze and even, we suppose, awe Wordsworth, were he to see it today.

However, I doubt if he'd be impressed.

With his discerning eye, the poet would know without doubt that our modern reality bears out his opinion..."we lay waste our powers" indeed.

What would the sea god Triton think of the melting polar ice caps... what could a sea god think as we pollute his very oceans along with the lakes and rivers a poet once could love? ...The rapid extinction of one wild species after another would break a poet's heart... and, of course, war always war, never a decade or even a day without war...what kind of sonnet could Wordsworth write today?

Yes, we "lay waste our powers," and now we have to live in the world that Man's arrogance created. Who of us can really believe that 2017 is better than 1802?

And who among us really cares? "I've got what I want, and the rest of you be damned!" That is the mantra of too many.

RIP, William Wordsworth. Yes, may you rest in peace despite us!

Written for Lady Fi's memorable meme,

Thank you, Fiona, for the world as you see it through your discerning eye, every Tuesday.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Daddy and dog reunion

When in doubt about a blog post, I always have dog photos on hand. These are from our recent trip to Red Deer, Alberta, to see Dick's daughters, Andrea and Randi.
We took our darling little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, who had never travelled that far before, and who had never met that many people in one place at one time, and she got along just just fine with everyone she met!
She even attended a skate-boarding bonanza. I don't seem to have photos of that, however. I was too busy worrying one of Andrea's two boys would go splat, but I fretted for naught. They knew what they were doing.
Bonnie-Belinda was fascinated with the skateboarders down in that concrete bowl, and would have joined them if I hadn't held her leash short and v-e-r-y tightly.
In these photos, we met up with Randi and Andrea at a beautiful park, complete with an off-leash area for dogs.
We didn't let our Bonnie off her leash (we don't feel she's quite ready for that in places where there might be interesting critters to chase) but she met the other dogs with aplomb.
Andrea's elderly pup, Grommet, used to the ways of the world, ignored everyone but Andrea.
After Bonnie had some sniffing and pleased-to-meetchas, we continued walking.
I, of course, gave up first...not quite exactly really quickly, mind you, but definitely first. I found a bench on which to sit, and from there I could watch the most amazing spectacle. But more on that another time. First, the Bonnie pictures, now my favourite things.
In these photos, I met up with the others at a nice grassy area, complete with facilities, ever the objective of old ladies out walking. Here, I was holding Bonnie on her leash while I sat at a picnic table.
Then she saw her daddy coming...





I'm posting these for Lady Fi's wonderful meme,
Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Because it is still in print...

A vers libre bard.
So, my fellow bloggers...I do believe I can't reproduce, here, a poem I have always loved—because the book (in which it appeared when I first read it) is still in print!

Therefore, I must assume, it could still be under copyright, because my research has been inconclusive in that regard. The last date I have been able to find is 1977.

However, one poem seriously 'gives me to think' and I can't help but wonder if it will do the same for you. I will provide you with some links, so that you can decide if one of these poems reminds you of anyone alive (and living large) today.

The poem that made me think is one I've always loved, and is from a book, which I have also always loved, by a writer whom I have always loved as well (ever since I could read, and long before I could type). One of the poems linked here "gives me to think" very seriously.

The soul of Cleopatra.
Of course, now I must ask if one of these poems makes you think of one person in particular. It is a someone whom the poem fits to a T, as will probably be obvious once you follow these links and read the poems.
Now, which one person, in particular, comes to mind as you read these poems?

I'm not following the unwritten rules of Blogland, am I? But I couldn't resist. Who of us could resist linking our childhood and school years with something that overwhelmingly affects the world in which we now live?

Note: I am a Canadian, and have little or no stake in the outcome of any of this (one hopes).
I am not fond of cockroaches or toads, but I am fond of cats.

I am sharing today's post with Our World Tuesday, with many thanks to Lady Fiona for her wonderful meme.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The never-say-die Davies brothers

The baby on my mother's lap is my sister Ann at her christening, with grandparents, aunts and uncles. On the floor, very bored,  my brother Clint's face shows how he feels about it, while I played with a toy.
I have two brothers, the one who grew up alongside me, and the one whom I helped raise, and I'm very proud of both of them.
My high school grad photo.
Clinton Fraser Davies was the class clown before he ever entered a classroom. Entertaining people was his goal in life, and he tried hard, to say the least.
His escapades probably reached the pinnacle of success when he climbed out his bedroom window onto the porch roof, and from there up onto the peak of the house roof, in order to carve his initials into it with a butcher knife, but it would be wrong to say Clint's life was all downhill from there. He continued to entertain, eventually learning to do it by playing trumpet, but he always preferred making people laugh.
Now, many decades later, Clint is still almost as old as I am, and should be enjoying retirement alongside his lovely wife Maria, but his ever-nimble ever-surprising ever-enterprising mind has him embarking on yet another business venture now, even as I write this.
Can't keep a good man down, I know...
And as for me, well, I was something of a lowbrow poet, and now I'm lucky if I can manage to visit Facebook every couple of days, and to post something for Our World Tuesday on my blog here at least two weeks a month (while aiming at once a week if I can).
My much-younger brother, Rob (aka Roberto) was also the clown of his class, whether it was in Canada at the beginning and end of the school year, or November-through-April in Mexico.
Our parents had planned their retirement to the Baja Peninsula without ever planning on a new baby, but there he was.
Our poor father was terrified when Robbie was born, because he thought he might lose Mom, whom he adored. They had been high school sweethearts, and were engaged before Dad left to go overseas with the Canadian Army Show, where he was a scenery-painter as well as a musician. When he returned to Canada after his years spent keeping up the morale of Canadian troops in Britain, he and Mom were married.
Clint and Dad. Clint was  in
the Royal Canadian Navy
when Rob was born. While stationed in
Victoria, BC, he pawned his trumpet
so he could buy a motorcycle, but
it wasn't long before he wrecked the
motorcycle. His reaction was a
typically Canadian "C'est la vie."
Then I arrived, followed by Clint, then our sister Ann, as well as another baby girl, Barbara, who only lived a few days.
Years went by, and no one gave thought to another sibling.
But Robbie Davies was determined to make his mark on the world. He was born into the intensive care nursery in a hospital in Vancouver, BC. I was working and living in the city, so was able to visit him every day, reporting his progress to my worried mother who had to stay in the troublesome-mothers ward, without even seeing him, until they finally let her get up to visit him, before she and Dad were able to take him home some weeks later.
Assured that his beloved wife would be okay, Dad turned his attention to the wonderful little mite who had surprised them in what they thought was the beginning of their old age.
By the time Rob was two years old, he let us all know he was talented, beginning slowly by drawing a row of short vertical lines right across the bottom of a blackboard.
"What's that, Robbie?" asked Mom. "Grass," he replied. Mom immediately phoned Dad at the family printing shop and said, "Bring home paper. This one's an artist."
And so he was, and still is.
Rob as a young man
When he reached high school, Rob was told he couldn't keep disappearing to Mexico every winter because the school was on the semester system, so he stayed behind while Mom and Dad went south, living first with our sister for one winter, and then with me for several more while he finished high school and attended college...taking every art class he could find.
My townhouse was close to the high school and, for the most part, I enjoyed having a steady stream of boys coming in and out, saying, "Hi, sis," and hoping I'd prepare them a snack when I got home from work.
I'm very proud of Rob, to say the least, and although I was able to travel to New York to witness him receiving an Emmy Award when he was working for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, and although he came home when the Warner Bros. studios were sold, and established Atomic Cartoons with three friends, I am proudest of him for his accomplishments other than art:
Robbie Davies, to my great relief and joy, has been a proven survivor from his birth onward. He has survived cancer not once, but twice now, both times feeling there was something wrong in his body, and taking himself off to get medical help immediately.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if every cancer patient could self-diagnose like that? Survival was his goal from the very beginning, starting in an intensive care nursery, and onward.
I am intensely proud of him.
I am thankful, also, to our wonderful parents for allowing me to take an active part on "the committee that raised Rob." I assumed, because he was born when I was 21, that I would some day have children of my fact, I used to drive from the city to the suburbs every weekend, in order to learn how to bathe him despite my innate clumsiness. Nature proved otherwise, however, but I was more than compensated by my part in the raising of Rob.
Posting for Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday

Monday, August 21, 2017

Progressive puppy portraits

  Enjoying a little nap.

Wait a minute!
Did someone say 'toy'?  
For me?

Oooh, I love this toy!

Watch out, toy, I'm going to shake you to bits!

Well, that was a good day's work. Now I need to nap again!


Our darlin' girl, Bonnie-Belinda, knows just who is boss around our house now, and she isn't going to let us forget it!

I'm linking this post to Lady Fi's memorable meme  Our World Tuesday.

Monday, August 14, 2017

It must be jelly...

...'cause jam don't shake like that!

In the 1940s, the late, great Glenn Miller, and others, recorded a song called "It Must be Jelly 'cause Jam Don't Shake Like That."
I don't know whose recording my father played for me when I was small, but I loved it and would ask him to play it over and over. The lyrics, as I remember them, were:
It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that
It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that
Oh, mama, you're so big and fat!

At that time, no one would have considered the lyrics socially unacceptable, and only the chronically overweight would have thought them a slur.
How times have changed, and I'm so glad, because I'm certainly no longer young, nor slim!

When I was three or four years old, I thought 'Must Be Jelly' was wonderful. Other bands and singers recorded it with more lyrics (particularly Woody Herman, whom I considered the height of comedy my in pre-TV days) but I only remember those three lines, and they have stayed in my mind, rightly or wrongly, as Glenn Miller music.
When I became older, and could have my own record-player, Dad insisted I play one Glenn Miller record for every rock'n'roll record. Dad had long realized I couldn't sing (I couldn't even carry a tune in a bucket) so he made it a point to teach me to listen. For that, Daddy Davies, wherever you are, I've been forever grateful.

My father had been a musician and a scenery-painter in the Canadian Army Show during WWII, and was forever teaching me, and my brother Clint, everything he knew (our younger sister made it known that she wasn't particularly interested).
Many years later, when Mom and Dad had a surprise baby, Rob became Dad's best student, soaking up knowledge like a sponge.

Laena McCarthy,
without permission,
but many thanks
One of the things my sister and I learned from Mom, and from our grandmother, was cooking. And something else I saw Nanny do every year was canning.
We had fruit trees in the yard, and any fruit that escaped the three of us and all our friends, was 'canned' or made into jam. Canning, at that time, involved a wood stove, huge pots, boiling water, and hot jars, so it was not considered something to teach children. My young sister, however, absorbed it all, unbeknownst to the rest of us, and years later, when she was married and a mother herself, she took to canning all the produce she grew in her garden. (That blew my mind, to be honest.)

And now, to get to the heart of this blog post: I am old and, having had an often-busy life, I never though to take up canning fruit until this weekend. (Something red, halfway between jam and jelly, lurks in the fridge, on its way to becoming whatever it wants to be.)

Our Nanking Cherries
The reason for this sudden industry: I planted two Nanking Cherry bushes about 15 years ago, and this year we really had a bumper crop. Although I have been known to be a little extravagant over my long lifetime, usually buying rather than making, I suddenly said to my husband, "Let's pick those and then we can can them." The fruit is very small, pretty much miniscule, really, so I have already devoted three days to the chore of removing the itty-bitty pits.

More will be revealed, but right now I'm posting this for Lady Fi's wonderful meme "Our World Tuesday." 

But first, re the jamming — as I said, we have a jar and a half of something red and unrecognizable in the fridge — jam, jelly or ice-cream-sundae topping, we figure. At the very least, I did get myself a long-desired over-the-sink colander.

Only time will tell with the project, so I'll have to get back to you on that.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

To train or not to train, that is the question

A somewhat-recent addition to our family is a mixed-breed terrier we named Bonnie-Belinda. Here she is, in the photo above, looking a lot like the RCA Victor dog I remember from childhood.

There's no doubt that we love Bonnie. She is very intelligent and has learned many things: some good, some not-so-good.
She has learned how to manipulate her daddy, who thinks she is ever so cute, and who is reluctant to train her how to walk properly on a leash.

My walker in the kitchen
when I first bought it.
The other day, Bonnie and I were out with my walker. I want her to get used to walking alongside me, and it.

My husband came with us to watch out for rabbits, because I can't hold the dog back when she sees a rabbit. See one she did, and leapt into killer-mode, nearly pulling my arm off, while my husband wasn't looking at us.

The bane of my existence, that man I love.
And he loves the dog, yes, I appreciate that, but some of it is misplaced, in my opinion. He lets her pull and tug on the leash, and her short-legged, deep-chested 40 lb. body (18kg) weighs a ton when she's pulling.
He is often away on business, and I have to be able to walk the dog, never as far as he can, 8000 or so steps on his iPhone step-tracker gizmo.

Because I paid for Bonnie at the SPCA, and also for her examination at a veterinary clinic soon after we adopted her, she is supposed to be my dog.
At the clinic, they gave me some special dog food that would help her get rid of pieces of the Kong toy in her stomach. Said to be indestructible, the Kong had succumbed to those powerful jaws Bonnie inherited from some of the bigger, stronger breeds in her DNA.
Although we attempted, somewhat successfully, to have our favourite groomer trim our new girl's toenails, we haven't yet introduced Bonnie to our 'personal' veterinarian, a lovely young woman who makes house calls. She was wonderful with our late Golden girl, Lindy, in her senior and final years. Coming to the house regularly to check on her, she was with her right until the end.

Lindy was definitely Dick's girl, and they went on those long walks together for years, until she couldn't do it any longer. She behaved impeccably. She was a lady, after all.
Bonnie-Belinda, on the other hand, is an excitable, impetuous, athletic growing girl. A horse of a different colour, as it were.

Linking with Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday.