Wednesday, December 29, 2010

simple thoughts on life

simple thoughts on life
changing year, changing patterns
new fires bring in light


This is the last Wednesday of the year.
This is my last offering for OneShotWednesday.
I am hoping that bright and beautiful things will be ushered in 
in the new year
~2011~


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Last Journey

More goodbye hugs were upon us. Oliver faded into memory behind us, as Brett and I set out on our last journey in Arnie. Recollections from our last game drive in Chobe would be held close to heart for a long time to come, but Zimbabwe was in our sights now. It was time for us to shed Arnie, our metal companion, and set out on foot.
Bulawayo served as a resting stop to make a plan and regroup. We inquired as to how to go about selling a South African baby blue Kombi and were met with shaking heads. Try as we might, we would have to return to South Africa to sell the van. It was too complicated to try to sell a South African vehicle in a foreign country. Trying to save miles would add more headaches than we cared to fight with.
We took advantage of the city’s amenities  and decided to take in a movie while we were in Bulawayo. A couple we had bumped into on a few occasions in our travels was going to see “Babe”, so we tagged along. We grabbed popcorn and sank into some lumpy seats to let the African continent slip away. For two hours we watched barnyard friends climb into and out of trouble, and I for one was transported.
Upon leaving the theatre, I blinked at the surreal feelings that lingered. I was in Zimbabwe, Africa. Only days before, I had watched a pride of lions stalk a herd of buffalos across the plains of Botswana, yet had just had a two hour taste of North American life. Canada and home were over 6000 miles away though. God only knew how many more months it would be till I saw my native soil again.
An odd feeling of nostalgia niggled at the back of my mind as we walked the city streets back to our hostel. This was a city and despite feeling dated, it was closer to home than I had felt in a while. Thoughts of home and what waited there still left me with questions though. I could feel a frown around my eyes and shook it off as I re-engaged with my travel companions of the moment.
I was in Bulawayo. I was on an adventure of a lifetime that was transforming me with every mile under my belt and every African breath that I took. We were about to sell our beloved van and a vital companion in our travels. For now though, I rejoined the group’s energy sphere and walked this African city’s streets home. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dinner Time

Meal time at my house;
Yeah, not a fun thing at present.
I make a meal,
any meal, be it liked or no
and then commence to nag!

I take a bite of my food,
then say "eat".
I take a sip of a beverage,
then say "Eat".
I stare at my daughter,
then say "EAT!"
and at some point thereafter
I lose it
again.


I have threatened no dessert.
I have threatened no stories.
I have stated that this meal
will be served for dinner tomorrow,
but no one cares.

Do I?
Hell yes, as I am beginning to feel like 
the Wicked Witch of the West!
Eating my meal
with fire in my eyes
and evil in my heart
ready to screech out my hollow wrath
at the drop of a fork


She says she will eat her dinner 
"when she is a Mommy"
I tell her she will never grow to be an adult
without food in her belly,
but unblinking eyes register
NOTHING.
She is not a Mommy yet
and will eat when she is good and ready
apparently.
and apparently
my battles that I wage alone
are not so uncommon,
but I still wish
that this phase would pass...




Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Christmas comes,
but once a year.
The house is filled
with warmth and cheer.
    A heavenly scent
    of  turkey and pie
    Saturates the air;
    Mmmm, oh my!
      The gifts once wrapped
      now litter the floor.
      With glee and mirth
      children scream for more.
        The stockings are limp
        and so are you
        So cheer and rejoice
        because now you are through!


        Merry Christmas 
        To one and all
        From 
        Katherine
        at
        A New Day!

        Thursday, December 23, 2010

        A Christmas Toast

        Over at One Stop Poetry today, there is a suggestion to write something to honour family at Christmas time. I started with a different thought, but this story of love and generousity was a part of my Christmas a few years ago. It took centre stage, so I let it have reign on my page. I share it to honour my husband and the love and respect that he elicited from all those he touched. Enjoy.

        Christmas was upon me.
        I could not smile or glee.
        It had been mere months
        since death had claimed thee.

        I pushed myself to function.
        I strained myself not to cry,
        but my heart lie still in tatters
        and I too wanted to die.

        Your Co-workers refused to listen
        when I tried to decline their cheer.
        They insisted I join the revelry
        and at their party must appear.

        I had no choice, but compliance.
        Wiped tears and donned false smiles.
        Their hugs of joy were too worthy
        for a girl far from love by miles.

        We ate, drank and were merry.
        Shared stories til speeches were nigh,
        then sombre I grew, as attention they drew
        to myself  ushered forth to their eyes.

        Beautiful stories were issued.
        Thoughtful memories were shared to enthrall,
        then to my surprise a check materialized
        in my name, for my family, from them all.

        Speechless, I stood in front of them.
        Mine eyes blinking back full disbelief.
        How could they know how this touched me so
        in my heart shattered still by so much grief.

        Their pockets were emptied in your name.
        Wealth was shared from men, coast to coast.
        And here stood I, staring at nary a dry eye
        Trembling as they called for a toast.

        To Brad, was the shout from the tables.
        To Brad, was  the feeling round the room.
        My love, it was beauty at its finest
        and their hearts were opened all just for you.

        I shook as I raised glass in your name
        Tears fell, uncheckered from my heart
        They saw the special in you, that I also knew
        Their gift, to give me a fresh start.

        Your heart, I feel its presence
        nearly every day.
        Your heart, I know it beats
        yet strong for me.

        but on that blessed eve
        your love's magic it did weave
        and not alone was I that night
        when I did leave.

            {}{}{}

        Merry Christmas to all of you at One Stop
        and all of you who have touched my heart over the years
        You all help to keep me going & for that I am grateful. 
        Blessings to you all.

        Tuesday, December 21, 2010

        The End of the (OSW) Year

        A Christmas Poem

        naw

        hmmmm...


        what then?
        haiku for you
        to read, analyze, and rate
        against doting peers

        well,
        that doesn't thrill me
        although it fits

        cinquain
        brave, artless
        rhyming, scheming, plodding
        this isn't going anywhere
        poetry

        Lord, this is the last OneShot for the year!
        Pressures on...
        here we go.


        ...
        .....
        The Christmas goose
        and Christmas gander
        just set loose
        for a little wander
        where to? they wonder
        as their route around
        they did ponder
        with trailing fox none too confound
        A stop upon a little mound
        helped the straggler
        to make up ground
        and sneak in a littler nearer
        Feathers flying to the sky high
        alas the fox is left with nigh Christmas chicken pie.

        Oh, feckless words!
        what sonnet is this?
        that tries my brain
        and poetic nerves
        with none a thought
        you do deserve
        the trash heap abyss
        no more to strain
        a pen's sweet curves
        Ai- just flow is sought
        but for today, I will away
        and grace One Shot Wednesday with A New Day

        Winding down...


        Just having a little fun today.

        The kids and I hit the mall one more time.
        Crazy!
        I know,
        but they had to get something for Grandma!
        and then I forgot about the babysitter.
        groan...

        Every year I think I am done and then one more thing pops up,
        and then another, 
        and another.

        I am never quite done until Christmas Eve
        when the mall doors close
        and I sit back
        to turn my focus to wrapping.

        Yeah.
        That is never done until late Christmas Eve
        when the kids are in bed.
        Christmas carols play softly 
        on my sad excuse for a stereo
        and a rum and eggnog sits primly
        by my elbow
        waiting to fill me with cheer.
        Ahhh!

        But you?
        How are you doing with your Christmas prep?
        Are your cookies baked 
        or bought :-}
        Are the presents made/paid for,
        wrapped and waiting under the tree?
        or are you still scrambling,
         trying to figure out what tree,
        and where to put it?
        never mind decorations!
        ohhh...

        Well, the days are winding short.
        Perhaps a quick mulled cider
        will give the inspiration needed
        to hit the stores Christmas Eve
        with a flurry of spirit,
        spunk and savings
        and you can wake
        Christmas morn
        to cheer
        & love
        for all
        *

        Monday, December 20, 2010

        Happy Tourists

        The sound of Arnie’s engine died away. We shifted and jostled in the van straining to see why all the land rovers and overland trucks were clustered in the area. Buffalos were interesting, especially in a herd as large as this one, possibly upwards of 200 head?  I am a far cry from being able to estimate herd sizes, but I was impressed none-the-less. There was an electric hum in the air though. We could hear people in the other vehicles chattering excitedly in hushed tones, but could not see what all the drama was for.
        And then we saw them. Lions. Seven big lions slowly sauntered out of the bush. They paid no mind to the humans and their vehicles strewn about. Their objective was the buffalo. They had dinner on their minds and we were privy to the meal plan.
        In awe, we watched over the next hour as the lions slowly made their way closer and closer to the ever drifting buffalo herd. The sun made its way across the sky, but still the lions stalked their prey apparently unnoticed by the lumbering bovines. Other vehicles stopped to take in this awesome sight and a festive feeling filled the air as flashes could be seen from a multitude of cameras. We opened Arnie’s slider door to better see and photograph this lion hunt in the process. It was invigorating to watch, even at its slow pace across the savannah.
        The lions fanned out keeping low in the scrub grass. Somehow they communicated between themselves and seemed to focus their attention to an area at the back of the herd. I know that predators tend to attack the old, weak or young and we guessed at where they would centre their assault. They inched closer and closer to the shuffling buffalos.
        When the lions were about ten feet from the herd, the wind shifted. We were a ways off from the activity, but we could clearly see some of the larger male buffalos flick their heads and look around. Disappointment seemed imminent for all the effort that the lions had put in. We could see the lions tense and tensed with them as they debated making a last ditch attack. A hush had fallen over the human observers, but camera bulbs still flashed.
        And then the gig was up. One of the buffalos turned and bristled. Four or five of the bulls broke off from the herd, that now hastened its pace away from the perceived threats behind it. They spied the lions and charged at them. The lions knew they had been beat and skulked off from the running bulls. The massive horns on the buffalos heads were an effective deterrent for most beasts to change their minds on an attack. No dinner would be had for the lions tonight.
        My tale does not end there though.
        It was thrilling to watch the hunt and just as awesome to witness the defeat of it. The lions retreated back towards the bushes from where they had originally emerged. There was no hurry now, so the big cats sauntered away from their spoiled dinner plans, but headed directly towards the watching vehicles. Again, cameras came to life as the lions drew near for spectacular close-ups. What a treat this evening game drive had been for many a happy tourist!
        I watched the lions plodding along in fascination, until my mind clicked. I had the slider door open and seven hungry predators were headed in my direction after missing out on a potential meal. The puny sides of our little tin can would be no match for their razor sharp claws, but it would be even easier to snatch a quick bite with nothing in the way but a few articles of clothes.
        I quickly pulled my legs back into the van and scrambled to my knees. I grabbed the handle of the slider door and reefed on it to pull it closed. It slid across, bumped into the side of the frame and bounced back.  The door had not closed. As I peered through the crack in the doorframe, I watched the lead lioness sprawl three feet from our front bumper. Another lay down behind us. Still more plunked down just to our left. My knuckles turned white on the handle of the door and my heart tripped into overtime. I could not open the slider to see if I could slam it shut again. What if it didn’t seal and all I accomplished was gaining the attention of the hungry felines that surrounded us?
        A whimper escaped from me, as I clung to the handle. We could not start the van and drive away, as so many of the other vehicle were now doing. The starter had not worked on the van in months. Arnie required a push start  before he would acquiesce to spring to life. There was no way that Brett and Oliver would be jumping out of the van to push the vehicle far enough to have it fire to life. There were lions on either side of the front wheels! A passing vehicle informed us that two more males were lying in the bushes just beyond us as well.
        Good  Christ, my mind screamed. What were we going to do!
        Limp humour from the front seat did not lift my spirits, as the sun marched steadily towards the western horizon. It would be dark soon. Most of the other vehicles were gone as all vehicles were to be out of the park by 6:30 and it was quickly working its way towards 7PM. Brett called over to one of the straggling land rovers to inform them of our dilemma.
        “Mind giving us a push,” Brett shouted. “In a bit of a tricky spot and the kombi is a push start at present.”
        They conversed back and forth, then the other driver agreed to give it a go, figuring to shove us with his bush bar. I pictured Arnie’s bumper getting mangled days before we were set to sell out, but I preferred that to becoming dinner.
        It was at that moment that the lions decided that it was time to move off. The ladies rose and walked off a pace. Brett and Oliver wasted no time in jumping out to race Arnie down the track and mercifully he sprang to life. As we sputtered to life and began to drive, I pulled the door back and swung it closed with a monstrous effort. With that click, I sank back shaking. I finally breathed a ragged breathe and felt adrenaline coursing through me. Lifting my hand, I saw it visibly shake and knew that the threat had been terribly real. We would not be lion steaks tonight though. We had definitely had the excitement that we had been seeking and could leave stating that we were indeed very happy tourists.
         

        Sunday, December 19, 2010

        Stuck

        Stuck
        my world
        a vortex of kids toys
        laughter mixed with
        yelled threats
        forgiven
        promises and
        anticipation of visitors
        anyone!

        Please
        save me from
        going crazy
        over holidays
        *

        The holidays have just begun,
        but I am feeling house-bound
        and a bit loopy.
        Maybe I have licked too many
        Christmas card envelopes...

        ah well
        Bring on the eggnog
        and visit the Sunday 160
        for some fun 


        Friday, December 17, 2010

        Christmas Party Prep

        Presents to wrap.
        That should be a snap.

        Floor to vacuum & mop.
        Veggies to wash & chop.

        Dip to make.
        Hors d'œuvres to bake.

        Makeup to put on
        Dress to don

        Kids to pickup.
        Drinks to sup.

        Christmas cheer to toast.
        With friends I love the most

        I just love this time of year!

        *****
        That's 55 words for G-Man & you
        that I am rattling off
        before the hours are through!

        Thursday, December 16, 2010

        Game Viewing in Chobe

        I laid my pen to rest and looked at my watch. I could hear rustling outside of the tent and knew that Oliver must be itching to get going. A pang of sadness briefly swept over me, as I was reminded of dear Miki and our bond that we had held. The last time we were to go game viewing, the boys had left us behind. This would not be the case today though. I sighed and tucked my journal and  pen away, to crawl into the afternoon sunshine.
        My reminiscing was tucked into a pocket of my mind to be looked at later and I smiled at my remaining travelling companions as I poked my head out of the tent. Of course, they were ready to go. I waylaid them for a moment, with a brief snack to tide us over until dinner when we returned from our game drive. I have to admit that I was pretty excited myself though. I was pushing with all my might when it was time to shove Arnie off into the vast flat plains of Chobe National Park to explore. Arnie fired to life and we chugged off to the main park entrance with hopes of spying lions, cheetahs, jackals or perhaps even a leopard!
        A few hours later, we returned to our camp a little dejected. Yes, we had seen the magnificent landscape that was Botswana and driven along the dirt roads that skirted the river. We saw impala, but it was so abundant in any of the game parks that we had been in that it was a bit of a letdown. The best we got was watching some baboons grooming each other in the middle of the road. We were thirsty for something more exciting; something bigger. Our cameras itched to shoot the big game, but we were denied.
        Our game drive the next morning was just as disappointing. We searched high and low for sights of a fresh kill being eaten by vultures, a crocodile attacking a zebra too slow at the water hole or even something, anything more exotic than the by now prolific impala. We were jaded and pooh-poohed the beautiful antelope with its warmly coloured reddish brown coat, white underbelly and thin dark line down its back, that further stretched down each hind leg. It could be found everywhere from South Africa to Mozambique, throughout Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, even upwards to Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. We weren’t interested in impalas. We wanted blood.
        Undaunted, we planned on a last game drive for that evening. We headed for the river where we had spotted the most game thus far. My thoughts drifted to what I would do once Brett and I sold the van, as we slowly cruised along the dirt roads in the park. I looked up again when the van slowed. Ahead of us I could see several land rovers scattered about. Immediately I perked up and craned my neck to see what all the commotion was about. Oliver scrambled to grab his camera from the floor of the van and I could see Brett’s eyes growing in excitement. Obviously there was some kind of interesting animals up ahead, as the closer we got the more land rovers I counted.
        Brett slowed the van down and I noted that a huge herd of Buffalos was gradually making its way towards the river. It was getting on to evening and they were having a last drink before settling down for the night. Despite Arnie being cantankerous at the best of times, we decided to stop and see what all the fuss was about. The buffalos were incredible to behold, but something even more exciting was in the air. We were about to find out exactly what that was.

        Wednesday, December 15, 2010

        Cold Toes


        Cold toes and quiet
        rooms filled with the memory
        of those gone before.


        Tuesday, December 14, 2010

        The Last Night

        My vigil full
        with heavy heart
        beside you sat
        to walk the last night.

        The last night ravaged
        Your little soul.
        No power had I,
        but to share the sorrow.

        The sorrow mounted
        with gasping breath.
        My tears filled up
        Your heaving chest.

        Your heaving chest
        with aching thrusts.
        I smoothed the ruffles
        with Reiki's trust.

        Trust you offered
        with pleading eyes.
        I feel I faltered
        and cannot stem my cries.

        My cries drip from me
        in unending stream
        For the breath has left you
        no more to dream.

        To dream, to dream
        that's what's left twould seem
        So I light a candle
        and hold vigil bereaved.

        ~~~

        One Shot Wednesday

        Monday, December 13, 2010

        To Chobe We Will Go

        With Miki gone, we knew our time in Arnie was winding to a close. Our little blue kombi had been good to us, but was sorely battered and bruised. For a goodbye trip, we decided a jaunt into Botswana was in order. Brett, Oliver and I would go to Chobe for one last game drive, then head back down to South Africa to sell the van. I had been to Chobe before, but the game viewing in Botswana’s first official game park had been magnificent the first time, so I couldn’t resist.
        I waved goodbye to my friends in Victoria Falls and we pulled out our passports to enter a new country. Botswana was a relatively poor neighbor to Zimbabwe, but it seemed to be comfortable in its own skin. Images of poverty did not slap you in the face and gone were the tourist trappings of Victoria Falls. We were guests in a proud nation that seemed to take care of itself in a way that we had not seen thus far. A feeling of peace filled me as we drove towards the park entrance. I smiled at the dry landscape we passed and the beautiful people in their simply constructed rondavel homes. This was the Africa of my dreams.
        While Chobe National Park is not Botswana’s largest park, it does hold some of the biggest concentrations of game. There are massive amounts of elephants. Hippos can be seen lazing on river banks or slowly drifting downriver from the multitudes of hungry crocodiles. Assorted deer species such as impala, sable, kudu, eland, bushbuck and waterbuck are found within the parks borders, as well as many of the Big Five (leopard, Cape Buffalo, elephants, rhinoceros and lion). We hoped to see as many animals as we could while we were there and odds were good in this relatively flat country.
         Our drive into the park heavily wetted our appetite for game viewing. Despite it being mid-day, which is not the best time to spy game, we were treated to tonnes of animal sightings. We saw impalas and giraffes, passed baboons and warthogs, and even spied buffalo and zebras. We were thrilled and anxious to set up our camp so that we could go for a proper game drive that evening. We knew that the best times of day for game viewing was between 6 and 9AM or 4 to 6PM. Most animals prefer to sleep during the worst of the heat of the day. We were not immune to the incredibly dry, hot weather either. After setting up camp, we retreated into our tents to snooze away the afternoon before heading out for our highly anticipated evening game drive after our plethora of sightings earlier that day.

        Sunday, December 12, 2010

        Snow + Cold = Xmas Tree

        Snow
        More snow
        Snow forecast all week
        More snow
        Snow

        Ha!
        Your afflictions
        Born of cold weather
        Can’t stop me
        Nah!

        Tree
        Christmas tree
        Tucked in the corner
        Gathered today
        tree
        ~


        Neither snow,
        nor this cold's flow
        could keep me 
        from getting our Xmas tree
        or linking me
        to the Sunday 160

        Saturday, December 11, 2010

        Saturday Sickies


        sniff...
        cough...

        Now
        a
        cold.

        Achoo!

        ~~~
        Despite being housebound
        with all this snow
        I still
        managed to let germs
        catch me
        sigh...



        Thursday, December 9, 2010

        The Aftermath

        The snow has past,
        for now we pray.
        I believe it'll last
        till Christmas day.

        Up to my waist
        in the deep back yard.
        You should see this place!
        I might be forever scarred.

        But the sun came out
        And schools re-opened for play.
        So I just had to run about
        For kid-free retail therapy!




        Yippee,
        55 words to you
        from me
        to throw at G-Man's flash party crew

        Tuesday, December 7, 2010

        A Winter's Day

        Late last night
        on my little side street
        sat a city truck
        with flashing lights replete.

        My heart it sank
        as questions began to mount.
        What was going on?
        What fresh hell could I now count?

         Early this morning
        my fears were realized.
         A knock on the door
        brought bad news, I surmised.

        "The water'll be turned off,"
        a man clad in orange declared.
        A water main break;
        The cause of this new despair.

        So we watched from the window
        as a hole was dug.
        Morning entertainment; cool!
        For another snowy day funk.

        Well, on the seventh day of December
        the numbers began to add.
        Would you care to do the math
        for my wintry woes comrade?

        12 yellow flags


        11 Tonnes of dirt (or something like that to fill the hole in the road afterwards)
        10 AM - When I went out with coffees (and to survey the damage)
        9 AM - When they started to dig


        8 AM - When they knocked on the door
        7th Heaven - for me as they plowed the driveway & brushed off the van (in appreciation for coffee)
        6 Big orange pylons
        5 City workers


        4 Cups of coffee (plus 1 tea for the poor guys stuck out in the snow)
        3 G-Tel vans (line locating crew)


        2 City trucks
        and 1 Back hoe to dig the hole...


         Happy Winter Days my friends!
        Oh, and I am jumping on early for One Shot Wednesday this week. Enjoy!!



        Monday, December 6, 2010

        Snow Day

        I am calling in a snow day. Today was day two of a snow squall that has settled over my fair city. We have received upwards of 30+cm already and they are calling for that again in the next 24hrs. The schools across the region were closed and we were grounded at home. That being said, I call my own snow day. No work done today, aside from cookie baking & the proverbial dinner. A rousing game of Trouble filled in the afternoon before we went out to shovel again. Now the kids are abed and after the last 36 hours, I think I shall call it quits as well. Be well, stay safe and bless you all my friends for all that you offer me. 

        Saturday, December 4, 2010

        A Lover's Winter Quarrel

        I am rap, tap, tapping at your door
        in the icy cold lee from the wind
        The icicles slip, drip, dripping from my nose
        as I wait for you to let me in.

        The stair so snow, snow, snowy around my ankles
        as a shiver starts up my ill-covered spine.
        I keep on rap, tap, tapping on the door frame
        praying that forgiveness will rend the door open in time.

        I dare not yell, tell, swell my sad story
        as to why I quake without coat in the cold.
        Rather beg, plead, coerce with remorsefulness,
        but the light clicks out in a statement far too bold.


        Just a bit of cold, bold poetic fiction for the Magpie prompt this week.

        Friday, December 3, 2010

        MK - What Have You done to Me!!

        I went to meet
        Ms Mary Kay.
        On wares aplenty
        my eyes did play.

        Fine food was served,
        but not to us.
        We got rice
        Drowned in thick, gooey sauce!

        With faces washed
        and colours picked
        We dabbed and swiped,
        Twas a palette thick.

        Well, thick enough
        to cause a fright,
        as my eyes turned pink
        later that night!

        Oh woe is me
        with delicate skin
        For MK’s products
        left my vision thin.

        I type this now
        with vision fair,
        But this morning’s visage
        was a different affair.

        Puffed up eyes
        And red rimmed lids
        A spectre wild!
        That’ll learn me kids!!

        So, no makeup for me.
        My face will have to stay bare.
        Unless I want to appear
        As your worst nightmare!


        *Photo from Moronface.com

        Thursday, December 2, 2010

        MK - You look Marvelous!

        I am going out this evening!

          "Where to", you ask?

        Well, I have been invited to a Mary Kay party! I said this to my Aunt this afternoon and she remarked,
           "They're still around?"

        Yup, and I get dinner and a makeover out of the deal. Sweet! I expect to be dolled up finer than anything by the end of the evening! Going to be gorgeous, so if you'll excuse me, I am going to change into something sexy to complement my anticipated makeover.

        Ready for my photo shoot!

        Have a lovely evening all! and babies...
        YOU look mahvellous!!!



        *Picture found at Flickriver

        Wednesday, December 1, 2010

        December 1st

        deck the halls with...
        hmm, how shall I deck?
        garlands add a touch of bliss
        plus reindeer, what the heck!

        Can I find the snow globes,
        maybe a snowman or two?
        What happened to Santa's wardrobe?
        His hat has been coloured blue!

        tum, tee, dum tumm...
        There's the angels three
        I don't remember where this jingle bear came from,
        but there's my old ceramic lit-up tree!

        Oh, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
        yes, the flakes are in the air
        I have started on my shopping checklist
        and Bob & Doug McKenzie are singing the 12 days of Christmas without a care

        My sides are tickled raw
        for their 2 pounds of back bacon and beer in a tree,
        yes True Canadians, Hahaha
        Oh, let's pull out all the other Christmas CDs!

        Well, I should vacuum and dust the house
        so that I can place the ornaments just so
        ah, my favourite; Mrs. Claus & her spouse!
        Yup, December 1st and the festive season has hit me all aglow!

        Happy Holiday!
        from little ole me
        at a New Day
        playing the Oneshot Wednesday spree

        Tuesday, November 30, 2010

        I'm a gummibar

        Just wanted to share a little piece of my Momma hell with you. This has been stuck in my head all evening. Delightful. The kids think it is hilarious. My brain isn't going to offer you anything more from its gummy state I'm afraid. Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to find a poetic pen...

        Monday, November 29, 2010

        A Goodbye Cruise

        You would think all I did was drink while I was in Africa at this rate. Brett and Oliver met back up with us later in the day after Miki and I returned from our canoe safari. Hugs and apologies led us to a makeup date on a booze cruise into Zambia. It was just across the river, but our passports were always hungry for new stamps, so a-cruising we would go. We saw a most beautiful sunset as we chugged along the Zambezi above the Falls with many, many drinks in hand. One too many for poor Miki, as she was a fallen soldier half-way home. Not sure if the border guards appreciated cleaning up after all the booze cruisers that went through that border, but the economy was grateful I’m sure!
        Miki’s groans were joined by the rest of us, as we begged for sleep under a blazing light post in the campground where we had set up our tents. At 3 AM we tossed and turned laughing at our fate, but by 5 AM we blissfully crashed again. Brett pushed on to get a view of the sunrise from the falls, but I could not muster the strength to walk, let alone goggle over a new day. Miki and I would make a trek to the falls later in the day to get our fill of the magnificent view and feel the spray of the Zambezi’s water on welcome cheeks.
        This was our Coup de grâce for a journey that had spanned just over 3 months. Miki would depart the next evening on a Translux bound for Johannesburg. It saddened me that she would no longer be my travelling companion, but fate had thrown her in my path and for that I would be eternally grateful. When I had concocted a journey to Africa the year before, it had held no one in it, but myself and  relatives to meet. I had never dreamed that I would be back-packing around the African continent with someone I barely knew from high school, an Aussie bloke and whatever other travelers we came across. She helped me to get comfortable in my backpack’s straps and have the confidence to strike out on my own. With a heavy heart I wished her well, but knew that when she left the next evening I would wipe away my tears and turn to the next bend in the road on my African Adventure.

        Sunday, November 28, 2010

        Cleaning Spree

        Time to empty shelves.
        We discard old
        and broken items
        that no longer hold love or attention
        in hopes that St Nick
        will come to offer
        shiny new baubles
        for our play!

        $$$

        Yesterday we headed to the mall and spied Santa on his throne. My eldest hid behind me, but little R headed straight for the Big Guy's lap to chat. I figured that made it a good excuse to clean the playroom and thin out the toy shelves down there. Perhaps I will be able to see the floor for a day or two...

        Oh, and this little ditty is my entry for the Sunday 160 over at Monkey Man's as well. 
        Hope your Sunday was swell!

        Saturday, November 27, 2010

        Stranger

        Stranger;
        by Megan Hart
        (© 2009 Spice)

        This is exactly what it looks like my friends. Yes, this is the selection for my book club this month. I will give you one chance to guess the genre and if you cannot guess it, then perhaps you need to flip through some of the magazines that they have on the very top shelf of the magazine rack at variety stores. You know the ones; either covers are hidden or stickers are dotted all over the front cover to hide prying eyes before a purchase is made. Yup, this is along those kind of lines.

        You might ask why we are reading a book that hearkens from the realms of Harlequin. Well, some of the members of my book club are wondering the same thing to be honest. Ha! We all agreed to read whatever is on the table though and this year we went with genres. One lucky lady selected Erotica and we all agreed, with a round of titters. When it came time to announce the selected book for our genre, Stranger was presented to us for our erotic pleasure. Some had questioned why not a classical approach, such as Lady Chatterly's Lover, Tropic of Cancer or perhaps something by the Marquis de Sade. Modern was the answer. So a modern look at erotica was perused this month compliments of Meagan Hart and her novel Stranger.
        ^^^

        The story opens with the main character Grace entering a hotel lounge and settling into the bar for a drink. A description of her provocative attire leads one to assume that she is meeting someone for a date, or at the very least trying to meet someone for something of the kind. A lewd and pushy man tries to hustle her, until a tall, dark and very handsome man interrupts. He fashions himself her boyfriend to dissuade the first stranger to depart, then with him gone introduces himself. Before either of their drinks are done, they are headed upstairs for a night of wild and raucous sex. 

        Now you might think that Grace is a bit of a tramp, but this is where the story tries to hook you. Grace is under the impression that the handsome stranger she "picked up" at the bar was a man that she had hired from an escort agency. She had already paid for his services and had requested a bit of kinky fun with the game of "having sex with a total stranger". Little did she know, that is exactly what she did. After wonderfully satisfying and over the moon sex, she freshens herself up and heads out the door, checking her voice mail as she goes. Only then does she get the message that her "real" date is wondering where she is and if their gig was cancelled. Well, she is mighty shocked, appalled, but even more titillated, but she doesn't have time to think about it as she heads out to pick up a body from the hospital. 

        Oh, I haven't mentioned that yet? Yes, well, our dear Grace is a funeral director. She has just taken over the family business and is trying hard to impress her gruff father that can never be pleased. She has a male intern and female secretary (who have an affair, but is a pretty minor sub-plot that doesn't add anything to the story in my opinion) that work for her, but other than that she is fiercely independent. That of course is why she hires men for company, but more importantly, sex. She has no time for a relationship, but as the story unfolds, it is pointed out that she is afraid of commitment, loving someone,  and ultimately losing them. In her narrow world, all she sees is that everyone leaves you sometime. She forestalls the hurt caused by someone leaving her, by not letting anyone in to cause harm. Wonderful, except for the fact that she is dealing with the bereaved as a line of work. 

        At this point the novel is more than a little flat on character development. Grace is a self-centred, narrow-minded individual that has no room for anything other than proving her father wrong, and of course sex. She supposedly is good at her job, but without truly caring about another individual, I don't see as how she could actually come across as believable to any kind of client. Her words would ring pretty false to a grieving soul's ears. I suppose that the story is trying to legitimize itself here though, so I will move on.

        What else is in this book? Well, sex for the most part. Fine, except for I find it annoying how she has the best sex ever, every single time she has sex in the book. I am not saying that I am virginal, but I also wouldn't suggest that every time I have slid between the sheets with someone the moon and stars have realigned into a new constellation with my name on it. Jealousy on my behalf, I suppose, but I have to beg realism here. I don't mind the sex, but a little more titillation wouldn't hurt either. I suspect that I will not be alone in my questioning as to why the book did not appeal to my erotic imagination. That is not what this book was about though. The pictures were vividly painted and no imagination was required. 

        Ah well, I did read it to the end and to be honest didn't mind it that much. Intellectual stimulation was not the main point, as the story was all about getting the motor running, if you will. Predictably, Grace gets together with her Stranger, loses her stranger, and then finds him again, as well as a dose of love thrown in for good measure. Any moral or ethical questions to be learned here? That is a stretch, but perhaps it is that while an individual's happiness is vital and important, allowing others into our lives to share the joys and sorrows makes for a much more enjoyable and worthwhile ride. 

        Friday, November 26, 2010

        Winner

        I took the empty jar devoid of its pickle treats down to the dusty basement. I tucked it into the box, where it would wait until next year's crop of pickling cucumbers to be made into sour, crunchy nibblies. For now, it would just fill in a corner of  the derelict store room. 

        As I lifted the jar back onto the shelf, my gaze fell upon another box on the adjoining shelf. No written missive on the side of the box gave clues as to its contents. I paused, trying to think of what the box held, to no avail. Curiousity got the better of me, so I brushed off my hands and pulled down the box from the rickety metal shelf. A layer of dust coated the top of the box telling me that it had been forgotten for too long. A puff from me sent the dust into the air. An erstwhile warning burst from my brain, but too late to prevent me from sneezing and coughing in the cloud I released. 

        One final sneeze released me from its grip, as I choked back a thick snurtle. With now bleary eyes, I wondered why I was down there in the first place. Ah yes, the box...

        With already dirty hands, I wiped the lid of the box. It had certainly been down here a long time and my jeans took the punishment as I swiped my soiled hands against them. Now what was in this thing anyway?

        The yellowed tape that protected the contents of the box was brittle in my inquiring hands. It crumbled as I picked at it. Intent on seeing the interior of this vessel, I put the box down to collect a blade to aid me in my quest. Retrieving an exacto-knife from my tool box, I returned to my mystery package. Gently, I ran the blade the length of the top. It was a big box, now that I thought of it. Some weight to it too, but still I could not place its contents.

        Brringgg....

        The phone broke me from my explorations. I jumped up and ran upstairs to the demanding ring, leaving the contents still a mystery.

        ~~~

        A week later, I carried the laundry downstairs to the washer. Humming to myself, I sorted darks from lights, into my regular waiting piles. I tossed the first load into the washer and brought it to life with the push of a button. Stilling humming an errant tune, I paused to shut the open storage door with a frown. The tune disappeared on my lips as I remembered the box I had discovered the week before. I never did return to unearth it's contents, as life busily spun me on to my next task. 

        With curiousity peaked again, I approached the dusty box. A memory nagged at me, but I couldn't quite place it. I knelt on the concrete floor and felt a shiver run through me. Suddenly, the contents of the box didn't seem so important anymore, but a compunction drew me forward despite myself. I slowly lifted a corner of one of the flaps, feeling my heart flutter around its edges. I don't even want to know what is in this thing! My brain cried, but my fingers demanded I continue. They knew what I did not.

        I took a breath to focus my running thoughts and peered into the small revealed rectangle. Dry newspapers gave up no hints, so I flipped open the other flap carefully. Crumpled newspaper. I released the breath that had disappeared within me. A dull glint caught my eye and I froze. My hand mutinied my soul's demands and reached out to the cold metal in the box. No! no! was all I could muster in a whimpering voice, but it was too late. My fingers tentatively brushed the metallic edge, even as tears began to fill my eyes and overfill their bounds. Slowly I pulled one, two, then three pieces of yesteryear's news world out of the box to reveal the trophy nestled inside. 

        Water streamed down my face, as I attempted to blink vision back to me. It did not matter. I knew the name on the cup. I ran my hand over the lettering and broke. Sobs wracked my body. I convulsed and choked out my pain and loss, filling my husband's old relic with fresh grief. Why now? Why now had I discovered this snapshot of his past, when I had been so with it for weeks now. It hurt, this reminder of a reality that I could not change. His glory athletic days were long gone, swept away by the disease that had robbed his body of its health and vitality. It had robbed him of everything. It had robbed me of everything. 

        It would be a year that he was gone in a few short weeks. I could never forget that date. It loomed on the calendar, but I had tried to busy myself to forget it. Now this old burnished trophy demanded memories and I was powerless to stop. I sat cradling its cold comfort in my lap, as it filled up with pain, anger, sorrow and tears. Its lie of Champion felt heavy, as I rocked back and forth on the unforgiving concrete. I did not want this award today. Any day really, but the wave would pass. 

        Winner. 

        I sighed deeply and gently brushed a travelling tear off the front of the award. It seemed to gleam a little brighter.

        Winner...


        Inspired by a Magpie Tale Prompt

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